Character sourced from: Pop-Culture

Olivia Benson

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Added by: DSkillz

Read more about Olivia Benson at: Wikipedia

Official Site: NBC

Olivia Margaret Benson is a fictional character on the NBC police procedural drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, portrayed by Mariska Hargitay. Benson holds the rank and pay-grade of Captain and is the Commanding Officer of the Manhattan Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department, which operates out of the 16th precinct. She investigates sexual offenses such as rape and child sexual abuse.

When the series begins, Benson holds the rank of Detective and is partnered with Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), serving as the junior member of the pair. Following Stabler's departure at the end of the 12th season after a deadly shootout in the precinct, she is partnered with Detective Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) and becomes the senior member. During the 15th season, Benson is promoted to Sergeant and appointed as acting commanding officer in the wake of the retirement of both Sergeant John Munch (Richard Belzer) and Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek). In the 17th season, she is promoted to Lieutenant and becomes the squad's official commanding officer. She is promoted to Captain in the 21st season premiere.

The character first appeared in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit pilot episode, "Payback", which aired September 20, 1999. Hargitay remains the only original cast member still present on the series. Benson has been credited in 478 episodes of SVU (486 in the franchise/universe). With the premiere of season 21, Hargitay's Benson became the longest running prime-time live-action character of all time, surpassing the record held by Gunsmoke s Marshall Matt Dillon and Kelsey Grammer's character Frasier Crane from Cheers and Frasier. She made her 400th credited appearance in the third episode of the eighteenth season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, surpassing Cragen as the character with the most credited appearances in the Law & Order franchise.

Series creator Dick Wolf named his two lead detectives after his son, Elliot, and his daughter, Olivia. Wolf conceived Benson as a detective in the Manhattan Special Victims Unit, which investigates sex crimes. For the first twelve seasons of the show, she is partnered with Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni); after he resigns (offscreen) at the beginning of season 13, she is partnered with Nick Amaro (Danny Pino).

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