Mariska Hargitay Says She Loves Being on Olivia Benson’s ‘Eras Tour’ During SVU’s Milestone Season (Exclusive)

Sorry, Taylor Swift, you’re not the only one on an Eras TourMariska Hargitay says her Law & Order: SVU character, Olivia Benson, is too.

“I just love that I’m on an Eras Tour — I’ve seen the sweatshirts, it’s so funny. Is it Mariska or Olivia? I think Olivia Benson [is] on the Eras Tour,” Hargitay, 60, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting her partnership with Purina and the Purple Leash Project. “It is fun to have all these different times and different journeys that the character is going through, and I think that’s the mark of a good show. I think we’re telling important stories.”

Hargitay has been playing the role of now-Captain Benson since SVU made its NBC debut in 1999. The fan-favorite series is in the midst of its milestone 25th season, which is set to air its finale on Thursday, May 16.

“The way the season ends is really beautiful,” Hargitay teased to Us. “The way the season ends is so profound to me and it’s something that I learned, and also such a gift that I got from somebody — a dear friend of mine in law enforcement. He said something so beautiful, and we wanted to end this season on it. It’s really Olivia’s anthem.”

SVU was officially renewed for a 26th season in March, and Hargitay told Us that she — and Benson — have no plans to leave any time soon.

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

“I’m obviously not done with SVU and I have so much responsibility there still, which is keeping me artistically challenged. It’s challenging. In the meantime, I also have had these incredible moments,” she said. “I’m really happy and fulfilled with my life right now. So, we’ll see what comes. But as of right now, I’m very happy on the ride.”

Other than her continued work on SVU, Hargitay teamed up with Purina to unveil the “Courageous Together” statue by artist Kristen Visbal earlier this month. The statue shows a woman and her dog, connected by a purple leash, as they take the first step together after leaving an abusive relationship.

For Hargitay, teaming up with the brand to bring awareness to the Purple Leash Project was a no-brainer.

Mariska Hargitay Says She Loves Being on Olivia Benson's 'Eras Tour' During SVU's Milestone Season
Courtesy of MOVI Inc.

“This wonderful organization, Purina, and I are so like-minded in our goals of wanting to support survivors healing,” she said, referring to her Joyful Heart Foundation, which focuses on raising awareness for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. “When I found out that Purina is donating their time and resources to making shelters more pet-friendly, it just really spoke to my heart.”

Hargitay went on to say that “almost 50 percent of survivors delayed leaving their abuser because they were concerned about their pet’s safety,” later noting, “The only way that we can change this is by talking about it.”

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Purina’s Purple Leash Project is in partnership with the nonprofit RedRover to make more domestic violence shelters pet-friendly.

“I thought it was just a beautiful initiative,” Hargitay added. “Survivors take the courageous step to leave, which is so difficult and isolating. We need to support them in every way that we can, and they should be able to take their whole family — and many times, pets are their family.”

Law & Order: SVU airs on NBC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.

If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.


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