Mariska Hargitay: ‘SVU’ Has Made Me Tougher

by | April 25, 2012 at 11:04 AM | Interviews, Law Order SVU

Mariska Hargitay on Law & Order SVU (NBC)

Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the SVU team rush to solve a series of rapes in order to prevent street justice when a group of vigilantes, calling themselves the Justice League, takes the law into their own hands on tonight’s episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

The police’s hands are tied when there are no clues in a string of rapes in West Soho and the irate citizens take the law into their own hands — beating up an innocent man who they feel may be the rapist.

“Whatever you are doing it is not enough!” the frightened community says, trying to justify the actions of The Justice League, five citizens dressing up in super hero costumes to mask their identifies as they patrol their neighborhood in search of the predator.

It isn’t until one of the vigilantes is sexually assaulted that the police get a break in the case, but they still have to face down the angry mob. It doesn’t help that the fire is fueled by reporter Dennis Griscomb (guest star Gavin Lee), who is out to make a name for himself with the NYPD as his target.

“Our mission is to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues which is what the show does, and that’s why I was so proud to be on a show that has so much courage to talk about things in a way that deals with them, makes it okay to talk about,” says Hargitay, who says she had little knowledge of sex crimes prior to taking on the role of tough detective Olivia Benson. And it has changed her.

“I sort of feel like I can handle anything now,” she says. “I’m kind of a bad ass now, and I wasn’t when I left L.A. It’s made me tough. It’s made me deal with crisis better. I sort of go into cop mode.”

Preview Tonight’s Episode:

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” airs tonight at 10/9c on NBC.