As Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans await word on when Season 25 of the hit saga returns, the buzz is on what could happen to its characters. Could this be time for Benson to move on in Law & Order: SVU?
Olivia Benson has been the stalwart face of the show since it premiered in 1999. This would be Mariska Hargitay’s 25th year playing the character, a stunning achievement for any actor. It’s also why Season 25 is the perfect time for Benson to finally say goodbye to the show.
That may be a wild statement, but it can also ring true for fans. On the one hand, it’s hard to imagine SVU without Benson or the show without Hargitay. Both are the heart of the series, the one constant throughout its remarkable run and seeing the show lose her would be a blow. But it can also be one that can give the series a much-needed boost.
Benson was given a compelling backstory as she was the product of her mother being raped and had to grow up with an alcoholic mom. She’s endured heartache from her mother’s death to some past lovers but has done great, now Captain of the SVU team and an adoptive mother.
Some past seasons have touched on Benson feeling her age, burned out by the job, and some injuries. The fact that she’s getting up there has to be addressed, and it’s time Benson considered getting out of this job and focusing on herself more.
This goes for Hargitay as well. The actress has set a record for playing this role and is the only Law & Order actor to win an Emmy for the series. She has nothing left to prove and can handle a life outside the show.
How Benson leaving can invigorate Law & Order: SVU
Benson leaving would be a huge moment for SVU, but that can only aid the series. It does feel a bit stuck at times with familiar beats and Benson with her usual steely command, but one can only hear her “speaking or the victims” speech so many times.
Having her depart and a new commander coming in (perhaps another big-name star in the part) can kick off a new era for SVU. A different commanding style of someone learning the ropes about the team and a different dynamic with the cops is fresh energy, something SVU has lacked for a while. Law & Order feels a bit energized when a new cop joins, having a new boss completely can help.
The series can build up to it with Benson considering her future outside the NYPD and finally making the choice to go. It could also finally address Benson and Stabler’s relationship and if they make a decision to go for it after all.
The fact is, after 25 years, Benson and SVU are past time for a split and that can count for Harigtay and the show. It can be a huge shift for the series, yet it can also reinvigorate it for viewers. To say goodbye to Benson would be a huge ratings grabber for NBC and send the character off in style to leave behind a remarkable legacy for the entire Law & Order franchise.