NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

5 Terrifying Times Benson Almost Died on Law & Order: SVU

Benson has brushed paths with death more times than SVU fans would like — but she never gives up. 

By Jessica White

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit's Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is a force to be reckoned with, but that doesn't mean she's invincible. 

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays on NBC and next day on Peacock.

The tenacious Captain of NYPD's SVU is the occasional target of an attack, but she's an expert in navigating these high-stakes scenarios. Benson doesn't allow criminals to get under her skin, and while she's taken some punches throughout the years, she always comes out on top. 

With hundreds of SVU episodes behind her, Benson has survived some seriously harrowing ordeals. Below, re-live some of the moments when Benson had us on the edge of our seats wondering if she'd get out of this situation alive.

Trigger warning: This piece contains references to suicide. 

Times Olivia Benson almost died on Law & Order: SVU 

Benson gets attacked while chasing a kidnapper

"Fault" (Season 7, Episode 19)

One of the first times SVU fans were gasping at their screens was in Season 7's "Fault," when we saw Benson get her throat slashed by a kidnapper. The attack was horrifying for fans and Benson's partner, Stabler (Christopher Meloni), who dropped his pursuit of the assailant to rush to Benson's side. Benson recovered from the non-fatal wound, but it was a devastating development within Benson and Stabler's investigation

RELATED: Mariska Hargitay Received an Honorary Doctorate and Dedicated it to Assault Survivors

Benson is kidnapped and tortured by William Lewis

"Surrender Benson" (Season 15, Episode 1)

The horrific SVU villain William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber) subverted expectations in Season 15 when he kidnapped and tortured Benson. She was forced to watch as numerous people were harmed by Lewis' rage tour, and while she was able to save herself from the terrifying abduction, it was Benson's closest call yet. 

Benson plays a harrowing game of Russian Roulette

"Beasts Obsession" (Season 15, Episode 20)

SVU viewers had never wanted to see a bad guy apprehended more than Lewis, so it was downright devastating when Lewis later escaped from prison. Having grown obsessed with getting revenge against Benson, the serial killer broke out of prison to continue his wrathful plan. Lewis escaped the authorities and kidnapped a young girl to bait Benson out of hiding, forcing her into a torturous game of Russian Roulette. Shot by shot, we waited to see who would win the horrifying game until Lewis shockingly died by suicide once the authorities found their location. It was an explosive conclusion to a longtime nightmare for Benson, and she was understandably forever changed by the events. 

Benson is almost killed in front of her son

"Jumped In" (Season 24, Episode 10)

Since becoming the loving mother to her adoptive son, Noah (Ryan Buggle), Benson is always on high alert. Benson is incredibly protective of Noah, so as soon as she saw BX9 gang members insidiously circling their apartment building in Season 24's "Jumped In," she knew to distance him from the chaos. Benson approached the gang with her firearm but was promptly jumped by the group of machete-wielding members. Before they could give the fatal blow, they thankfully ran to avoid being seen. Benson was battered from the attack, but her utmost concern was making sure Noah was safe and that it wouldn't happen again. 

RELATED: Ice T Says He's Only Taught Mariska Hargitay One Thing — But It's Important

Benson is shot in the line of duty for the first time

"With Many Names" (Law & Order: OC Season 3, Episode 22)

Tracy Horner (Wilson Conkwright) in a scene from Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Until Season 24 of SVU, Benson had never been shot in the line of duty. Sadly for her clean streak, Benson received a life-threatening wound in the Season 3 finale of Law & Order: OC when Benson and Stabler become the target of a horrific manhunt against them. When a shootout occurs at the diner they were hiding in, Benson managed to take down the assailant but was shot amid the madness. Stabler was emotional when he later visited Benson in the hospital, but in true Benson fashion, she was already on the mend and ready to get back to the investigation.