TODAY   |  January 08, 2014

Mariska Hargitay talks ‘SVU’ premiere

The actress, who has played Detective Olivia Benson on the popular crime drama since 1991, talks to TODAY’s Matt Lauer about the character’s emotional trauma after being kidnapped and tortured in the upcoming season premiere, and dishes on receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're now back at 8:40. tonight marks the winter

premiere of "law and order: special victims unit." detective benson will be forced to relive the details of her brutal kidnapping. marishka hargitay has played detective benson since 1999 . good morning. welcome back. is it a -- or a wow, that went quick.

>> it's both in a way. but wow, that went quick, especially on days like today.

>> i was reading about some of the story lines and this particular story line . i'm wondering, when you look back to 1999 , have the stories changed dramatically? are they going a little bit more over a line now than they did back then?

>> no, i mean, i think it's been a journey. i think the writing changes now. we have new show runners now. it feels to me like a different show now. which i think is a great thing, right, after 15 years, the show feels so unbelievably fresh. and that's a gift.

>> the stories are gripping, though. this one, in particular, this story, that's kind of the end of a trilogy when it comes to this story line . it's emotionally and physically violent.

>> yeah.

>> do you ever get feedback from viewers who say i'm drawn in, i'm hooked, but sometimes i can't take it.

>> all the time.

>> i have so many -- especially moms at school that just say i can't watch the show. and i understand that. and i think people need to be careful and take care to know what their limits are. because it is traumatizing. this episode was traumatizing for me to shoot it. and i deal with these issues every day. but it's about, you know, olivia being a victim that she continually takes care of. and so the tables are turned.

>> abducted, physically beaten, emotionally tortured, forced to watch things no one should have to watch. if olivia were a guest on the show in reality, i would say, as this case goes to trial, might it bring closure to her character? i know a lot of people hate that term. do you think in some ways this wraps it up for her?

>> you should watch tonight and see what happens.

>> i have a feeling there's no closure here. i don't know --

>> i wish there was. it's not that simple. it's not that simple, i think. it's what she went through. i don't know she can recover from. she's still -- it has changed her. she's still fighting the ptsd. and, you know, once she thought she got him, he got in there again in a deep and very painful way.

>> let me change subjects. because in the notes on you coming on this morning, there's a little thing that jumped out at me. you were recently given a star on the hollywood walk of fame . i bring it up only because i've talked to actresses and actors in the past because they think, oh, i'll show up, it'll be okay. and they get there and find it incredibly emotional.

>> it was incredibly emotional. it was surprisingly one of the most emotional and beautiful days i can remember. my mom got a star. and my brother, you know, all the photos i've seen of her and with my brother and my sister there and then there i was on that day with my brother and my sister was incredibly a bonding moment, and i felt very, very surprisingly close to my mom.

>> i don't know if i have to say this because you've been on so many times, but your mom was jane mansville, that's why she got a star. i'm glad to hear you say that because i think people are taken aback by that.

>> i was warned, my friend hilary swank got a star and said, i went there and thought it was a work thing. and she said i cried more than the academy awards or any other thing. and i remember going, i get it. it's very emotional.

>> well, don't forget you can see marishka hargitay on the

order: svu" here tonight on nbc.

>>> up next, steals and deals, including kind of a fancy juicer at an amazing price.

>> very fancy.

>> but first, this is "today" on nbc.