Critics weren’t sure what to make of Dick Wolf’s Law & Order spinoff with a sex-crimes slant when it arrived in 1999. For every “crackling-sharp” and “dead-on,” there was a “formulaic” or “uneasy-making.” But Mariska Hargitay — who has played intrepid NYC cop Olivia Benson, now the lieutenant, since Day 1 — and her Special Victims Unit costars quickly won over fans, and along the way to amassing 434 episodes, she earned eight Emmy nods, winning one.
A producer and occasional director, Hargitay has been greatly affected by SVU’s stories of sexual assault and domestic violence, launching the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help empower survivors. (Her documentary about the backlog of untested DNA rape kits, I Am Evidence, can be seen on HBO Go and HBO Now.)
Ahead of the two-hour episode that opens the milestone 20th season (“Olivia is going to deal with some new things, maybe her own physical limitations,” Hargitay teases), she solves 20 more mysteries about her beloved drama.
In this issue:
- Monday: Freddie Highmore on The Good Doctor, 9-1-1 blazes back into action; Bull gets healthy.
- Tuesday: Intel on This Is Us‘s Big Three; Lethal Weapon welcomes a new face; surviving NCIS‘s cliffhanger; black-ish‘s sunny turn; the Black Lightning gives their best guess to: ‘What’s in the briefcase?’
- Wednesday: SEAL Team faces a loss; one big night of Chicago dramas.
- Thursday: Karen’s next move on Will & Grace; The Good Place‘s reset; a Big Bang Theory farewell.
- Friday: A Blue Bloods wedding looms; Hawaii Five-0 hits 200 episodes; Tim Allen talks his return to Last Man Standing.
- Sunday: Madam Secretary gets presidential; PBS’s Poldark; The Walking Dead‘s new world order; inside Outlander‘s colonial wardrobe.
- Plus: A calendar chock-full of returning series, 2018 Emmy ballot, Anthony Hopkins portrays King Lear and the best of movies, streaming, sports and more.