Olivia Benson was under serious threat in this episode “SVU”
The Season 15 premiere was a dark episode, even by SVU standards. The episode picks up immediately after the Season 14 finale, when serial rapist William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber) held Benson at gunpoint in his apartment.
The first episode, titled “Surrender Benson,” opens with Benson strapped to a chair and trying to negotiate with his captor. Meanwhile, the other SVU officers frantically search for their colleague. Lewis threatens to rape Benson, but she manages to escape. She then attacks Lewis before the other detectives save her.
Mariska Hargitay said filming the Season 15 premiere was a challenge
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Benson ultimately survived his terrible encounter with Lewis. But the filming of the episode cost the actor who plays the character a lot.
“It was, without a doubt, the hardest episode I’ve ever shot in 15 years, and it was unlike anything I’ve ever done,” Hargitay told The Today Show in 2013 before. broadcast of the episode. “I have to tell you, after 15 years, to be nervous and scared and excited to go to work – that’s a very good thing.
She explained the challenges she faced as a performer. “When you play, your body doesn’t know the difference (between) acting or actually being,” she explained.
“I think you’re pretty much playing the simulation game (to capture the scene),” she added. “It’s just about believing it. I think that’s why you study all your life to be focused and present.
Hargitay says she feels a duty to ‘real life survivors’
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Hargitay went on to say that her experience working with survivors of sexual assault through her Joyful Heart Foundation meant she felt compelled to bring authenticity to the scene.
« [F]or I, with the work I do with Joyful Heart, have had the opportunity and the pleasure to work side by side with so many real-life survivors that I know their stories. … The bar is set to keep this real and to be honest about how scary it would be, ”she said.
In a 2014 interview with The Wrap where she discussed the episode, Hargitay said she wanted to challenge assumptions about who becomes a victim of sexual assault.
“Violence happens to anyone. I wanted to show how horrible it is. There is an archaic belief system about sexual violence – blame it on what she wears, she was drunk, he was a nice guy, he is a slut. Lots of things, ”she says. “But if you’re like me – a mean, rifle-armed, fearless lioness – and even though she can be sexually assaulted, that says a lot.”
How to get help: In the United States, call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member of a sexual assault service provider in your area.
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