Law and Order SVU: Olivia Benson star Mariska Hargitay speaks out on series ending

Law and Order SVU: NBC release trailer for episode nine

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The wildly successful Law and Order spin-off Special Victims Unit has managed to surpass the popularity of the original NBC drama. Now in the middle of its 23rd season, long-running lead actress Mariska Hargitay has raised hopes for a happy ending for fan favourite detective Olivia Benson.

There is still no sign of the smash hit Law and Order franchise slowing down as SVU prepares to continue season 23 in two weeks’ time.

Mariska has since taken the lead as Captain Benson following the departure of Elliot Stabler (played by Christopher Meloni) in season 12.

However, the pair eventually crossed paths again in the new offshoot Organised Crime, and they still have plenty of unfinished business to handle before the final season.

Before the launch of the 20th season back in 2018, Mariska opened up about how she’d like to bow out from her star-making role.

She told TV Line she’d like the series to end “with Olivia finding real peace and balance and love”.

Fans are desperate to see Benson and Stabler finally give in to their undeniable chemistry and get together before the series’ eventual finale.

Her comments a few years ago suggest this could be the most likely conclusion as Hargitay hinted at a long and peaceful retirement with her long-time partner.

Unfortunately, this crowd-pleasing conclusion is still nowhere in sight as both SVU and Organised Crime could both continue for many more seasons to come.

“She’s given so much to others,” the actress went on to explain.

“I want her, as she has fought for other people, to fight for herself.”

Stabler and Benson are some of TV’s biggest workaholics, so a happy retirement may not be on the horizon for some years.

When Christopher temporarily departed the series in season 12, his absence was explained with Stabler being placed on administrative leave off-screen.

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In reality, Christopher decided to exit the show due to a dispute over pay, but was eventually brought back to the fold in season 22 and Organised Crime.

Meanwhile, Mariska has remained the show’s most enduring lead throughout it’s 23 seasons, an impressive run of over two decades on screens.

As retirement from the NYPD doesn’t appear to be on the cards for either of them, it’s up to NBC and the show’s legion of fans to decide when Law and Order eventually ends.

With its difficult subject matter and challenging themes, it may be a surprise for some viewers the series has remained so popular over so many years.

“Basically, we’re telling compelling stories that are close to our hearts, our souls and our core,” Mariska explained.

She also felt the comforting presence of Benson in the lead could also be a part of SVU’s longevity.

“Olivia is a champion of healing,” she added. “The mother figure we all want.”

Season 23 features SVU’s milestone 500th episode and, although NBC have yet to officially confirm the next season, there should be no reason for the show to stop there.

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit season 23 continues Thursday, January 6 on NBC.

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