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Why Mariska Hargitay Is Missing From 6 Episodes of Law & Order: SVU Season 8
A beautiful life event happened at the time that led Hargitay to take the briefest of breaks from playing Olivia Benson.
But not Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay. Benson is the central character of the show — the beating heart, if you will. She's had a fully fleshed-out personal journey with huge arcs, even climbing from detective to captain of the SVU. So it may surprise some viewers to realize that she actually isn't in every episode. In fact, during Season 8, Benson is absent for six episodes in a row. But there's a simple explanation as to why. Read on for details.
Why Mariska Hargitay is missing from six episodes of Law & Order: SVU Season 8
Hargitay was on maternity leave!
In 2006, Hargitay gave birth to her first child with husband (and fellow SVU actor) Peter Hermann. During her pregnancy, Hargitay wrote on her blog (according to People), "I'm LOVING every minute of [pregnancy] and am so excited to be a mom...Not sure if you've heard, but the producers have decided not to make Olivia pregnant, so I won't be in a few episodes. But don't worry, the writers are working on some really great storylines, and there will be a special guest star filling in for me."
The series explained Hargitay's absence by having Benson go undercover, and Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) got a temporary replacement partner named Dani Beck (Connie Nielsen) for six episodes.
This is the longest string of episodes Hargitay's ever missed from SVU. She now has 24 seasons of the iconic series under her belt, and a 25th one on the way. Her and Ice T (Fin) play two of the longest-running characters in television history. The "criminal justice system" — as the SVU narrator says every episode — just wouldn't look the same without them.