Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay
Drizzly downtown New York streets set the scene as Detectives Benson (Emmy nominee Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) tracked down a rape suspect (guest star Billy Campbell, "Once & Again"). The episode, entitled "Doubt", became one of the most controversial SVU episodes by not revealing the jury's verdict in a complicated "he said/she said" rape trial.
NBC.com tracked down Chris and Mariska during a break in filming, while Billy Campbell dashed into a nearby sporting goods store for some quick shopping. Chris kept things short, but Mariska was eager to talk about how the role of Olivia has changed over the years - and how it continues to inspire female fans, as well as Mariska herself.
Chris, do you think Detective Stabler has changed much over the years?
I think at the beginning of the show, he was very clear about where he stood and how the world operated. As time has gone by, that structure has gotten a lot of dents and dings in it. I think he's a little less sure of a lot of stuff.
Mariska, how about Benson?
I think like any human being, we grow and change over time. It's actually been very exciting, because Olivia has grown up and turned into this lioness over the last six years. She started as a person trying to right a wrong and fix something, coming from a very emotional, personal place. She's grown into her power. I think the focus has really shifted off of her, and what happened to her, onto the victims. She's grown into this mama bear, protector. And she's really grown into her own confidence and her own power and her own decision-making.
I think that when we started the show that she was very much how I was. The younger, rookie. Now, as one does with experience, she's coming from a different place.