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Why the Empire State Building Is Teal on April 6, 2024

You have one of your favorite TV detectives to thank! 

By Elizabeth Logan

Why is the Empire State Building lit up in teal on April 6, 2024? Here's a clue: dun-dun. Yep, it's to do with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit's Mariska Hargitay taking the show's anti-sexual-violence ethos into the real world.

Why the Empire State Building is teal on April 6, 2024

How to Watch

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

In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. And to combat these vicious felonies, SVU star and producer Mariska Hargitay started the Joyful Heart Foundation, which works to empower survivors through, among other programs, ending the backlog of rape kits and providing mental health resources. The organization's signature color is teal, which is also the color associated with sexual assault awareness month: April. To commemorate this, Hargitay will light up the Empire State Building teal. It will be visible to the public on April 6, 2024. 

RELATED: See All 3 of Mariska Hargitay's Adorable Kids Meet Her TV Son at Benson Plaza (VIDEO)

Mariska Hargitay holds up her People's Choice Award.

When she received an honorary doctorate from John Jay College, Hargitay told the crowd, "I want to dedicate this Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to the survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse that Joyful Heart is privileged to serve."

"To graduate means 'to move up to a more advanced level,'" Hargitay said in an Instagram caption. "Let us all continue graduating for the rest of our lives, and move up to more advanced levels of understanding, empathy and compassion—and perhaps most importantly, higher levels of the willingness and ability to LISTEN."

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is part of NYC's DNA

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is the longest-running primetime drama in the history of American television (just renewed for its 26th season!) and has famously always filmed on location in New York City, giving many theater actors their first (and second and third) on-screen credits. In March 2024, the equally iconic Rockefeller Center was itself transformed into Olivia Benson Plaza for a fan event.

RELATED: I Went to the Olivia Benson Exhibit in NYC, and It Was an SVU Fan's Dream (PHOTOS)

Hargitay previously revealed that her youngest son is adorably confused about his mother's status as a New York City staple. “He thinks I play a cop on TV, end of story,” the actress revealed in an interview, noting that he has not seen her show (SVU is definitely not kid-friendly). "So he asked ‘Why does everyone say I love you when we're walking down the street?'"

Tune in to Law & Order: SVU Thursdays on NBC or stream new episodes the next day on Peacock