Olivia Benson, the indomitable character at the heart of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," has captivated fans for the past 20 seasons. Played by the equally heroic Mariska Hargitay, one thing is for certain: Benson is not a person to mess with.
And neither is her hair.
As the crime-solving series enters its 21st season, making it the longest-running drama in the history of television, fans and followers of the franchise have bonded over the many looks she has donned through the years.
"Like any woman, Olivia is trying to find the hairstyle that fits her life," Hargitay told TV Insider last year. "I stand behind all my hairdos, except maybe three."
Lets take a look back at 20 seasons of Benson's bangs, lobs, pixie cuts and layers. All in the name of style justice, of course.
Season one: Dark lob
In the beginning, her dark, layered, face-framing lob became an iconic staple of the character audiences would soon fall in love with.
Season two: A little edgier
Things got a little edgier (and shorter) in season two in this look with textured ends and a badass attitude.
Season three: Spiky pixie
This spiky pixie almost got Hargitay fired, as she admitted once in an interview.
“I give the guy a glass of wine, he’s trimming my hair, everything’s great ... and then all of a sudden I turn my head and he cuts the wrong piece off and I was like, ‘No!’ I’m like, ‘Dude, I’m in the middle of an episode,’” she told WENN back in 2013. “I got in so much trouble.”
Hargitay said she called series creator Dick Wolf who responded, “I’ve fired people for less.”
“I said, ‘You can’t be mad at me; I’m the one with the dramatic hairdo,’” she said.
Season four and five: Sideswept bangs
For the next two seasons, Benson's hair grows out a bit, paired with highlights and sideswept bangs.
Season six: Feathered and free
Season six is when things got much lighter, as Benson went nearly strawberry blond.
Season seven: Award-winning combo of length and color
It was most likely her skilled acting, but perhaps this perfect combo of length and color ushered Hargitay to Emmy gold in season seven.
Season eight: Bang, Bangs
She made a bold statement by adding a curtain of bangs, sometimes paired with a ponytail that meant serious business.
Season nine: Back to a basics
Benson went back to season two vibes with this angled cut, and you can't help but love the nostalgia it invokes.
Season 10: Short and sweet
Her hair was growing out to new, sleeker lengths.
Season 11 and 12: Shoulder length
This style was so healthy and shiny, she almost wore it exactly the same way for two seasons in a row
Season 13 and 14: Waves
One dedicated fan created a diagram of Olivia Benson's hairstyles and called this season's look "The Right to Remain Stylish," and were they ever so right. Serving major shampoo commercial energy, these luxurious waves could only be considered killer style. This was also her first season without detective Elliot Stabler, showing she could truly stand alone without her partner-in-crime-solving.
Season 15: A DYI cut
During this season, Benson chopped her own hair off during a penultimate moment, showing us that even a DIY moment can have great consequences.
Season 16: Layers of justice
These layers command the attention of any district attorney or judge in her way.
Season 17 and 18: Professional part
Wearing that middle part with pride, Benson has obviously worked a flat iron into her morning routine.
Season 19 and 20: Mom haircut
How Benson manages the hectic schedule of being a mom and a crime-solving captain we will never know. But one thing is for sure: She always looks fabulous doing it all!