Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mariska Hargitay, Michael Chernuchin and the Secret to Law and Order: SVU's Season 19 Success


Mariska Hargitay has had a badge and gun strapped to her person as Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU for 19 seasons of TV, and she's showing no signs of fatigue with the long-running series. The Emmy winner has repeatedly told E! News she's more engaged with the subject matter and character than ever—and there's a reason why: Collaboration.
SVU returned for season 19 with a new showrunner, Michael Chernuchin, a veteran of Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and the showrunner of the short-lived Chicago Justice, who came in with a game plan for the season and its leading lady.

"Well, I told her I was going to really lead her through the woods, basically. She was going to hit bottom with the tug between home life and family life. We've kind of done that with the Brooke Shields episodes where everything seems great and it then it couldn't get worse. She comes out stronger for it, and I think we succeeded," Chernuchin told E! News. "And she loved it."
Chernuchin also old the writers at the start of the season the show is about family.
"A lot of our plots are family-driven plots, and also, I wanted to look at the people in SVU as if they were family. You have mama bear, you have the crazy uncle [Laughs.], people come, people go, and the kids," he said. "We always have in the back of our mind when we're starting any script: it's about family."
And the head of SVU's family is Mama Bear Benson, both on screen and off.
"I call [Hargitay] the No. 1 No.1. She is the best lead actor I have ever worked with, collaboratively," he said.
Chernuchin and Hargitay worked closely on the standout episode "Something Happened." The episode broke from the traditional SVU structure of crime, investigation and prosecution, and largely took place in the squad's interrogation room. The episode featured Hargitay's Benson and Melora Walters' victim-turned-suspect diving deep in what was essentially a two-person play.

 "I don't know if she told you, on that episode 'Something Happened,' we would get to the stage about two hours before call and just rehearse and figure out every scene. It was basically Mariska, Melora, Alex [Chapple], the director, and myself, and it was the most fun I've ever had in Hollywood. I love that creative collaboration and who knows Benson better than Mariska? It's been going great," Chernuchin said. "I can't wait to get to work every day. It's one of those things."
The feeling seems to be mutual for Hargitay. She said her experience and working relationship with Chernuchin has been unexpected.

"It's been utterly collaborative in a way that I didn't even know was possible, and certainly not in a way that we traditionally…Each week it gets more exciting because [Chernuchin] keeps topping himself for me," Hargitay told E! News in November. "Before, the writers would come up with the material and we would do it or tweak it, but Michael is a true collaborator in ways like that. I just did another episode with Brooke…we did this amazing show…We did a read-through and I was like, ‘I don't know, what if we did this? What if we did that?' and Michael was the first one to go, ‘This is why I love to do read-throughs! I want everybody's input!' And we, together as a group, came up with this amazing idea and Michael was the one who seemed to be the most excited by this collaboration.

"I really find him ego-less, which is such a great testament to his artistry. It's always the best idea wins. Right now the creative team at SVU is so exciting to me because it is a true sort of team, in that everyone is pitching and throwing ideas and everyone is listening. It's the best idea wins. That's just the way we roll," she continued. "It's been very exciting. For Michael to give me the honor to have so much input, it's absolutely thrilling and of course makes me even more engaged."

Chernuchin said he has "never felt as free as a writer as I have on this show."
"When I first joined, I said, ‘How can we do rape week after week? It'd get boring.' It's a lot more than that. I get to deal with issues like I did on Law & Order, but I get to throw raw emotion on the screen every week. On Law & Order you really couldn't do that because your victim was dead," he said. "We couldn't be more relevant right now with what's going on in the world, with #MeToo, it's incredible...It's great that we're dealing with things that the world is dealing with."

Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)


Monday, February 26, 2018

423 EPISODES LATER – Mariska Hargitay Still Loves Her Job


Apparently Mariska Hargitay KNOWS how lucky she is to star on a successful one hour TV series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, for almost 20 years – but she didn’t let the long hours interfere with her happy private life. Mariska actually met her actor husband Peter Hermann when he guested on the show and they married in 2004. Mariska has been so affected by her role on the show that she started a charity to help “special victims” of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. So far they’ve helped more than 5000 victims. Above, Mariska and Peter took their kids, Andrew, 7, August, 12, and Amaya, 7, to a NY Knicks game. Jayne Mansfield would have been proud of her daughter.

Photo Credit: BACKGRID-USA

Mariska Hargitay Exposes the Shocking Number of Untested Rape Kits in Powerful HBO Documentary


Mariska Hargitay is on a mission to shine a light on the staggering number of untested rape kits in the United States today.

Hargitay is the producer behind I Am Evidence, a powerful documentary that exposes the hundreds of thousands of kits containing potentially crucial DNA evidence, languishing untested in police evidence storage rooms across the country despite the power of DNA to solve and prevent crimes.
The documentary, which debuted last year at the Tribeca Film Festival, will premiere Monday, April 16 on HBO. In PEOPLE’s exclusive trailer, above, Hargitay, 54, proves she’s determined to raise awareness — and won’t back down.

“You don’t tell me what I can and can’t do,” says the actress, who has long played Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. “All it takes is focus, dedication and commitment.”
“The rape kit backlog is the most shocking demonstration of how we regard these crimes,” she adds. “You can’t change or fix what happened to one person. What you can change is what might happen to someone else.”

Behind each of these untested kits — and there are over 200,000 in the U.S. — lies an individual’s unresolved sexual assault case. The documentary follows stories of survivors who have waited years for their kits to be tested, as well as the law enforcement officials who are leading the charge to work through the backlog and pursue long-awaited justice in these cases.
“I am evidence that this is not just a kit,” says one. “This is a person.”
The film was directed by Oscar nominee Trish Adlesic and Emmy winner Geeta Gandbhir.
I Am Evidence premieres Monday, April 16 on HBO.

Monday, February 19, 2018

All the 'Law & Order: SVU' Exits That Broke Our Hearts


Spanning 19 years on air (with no sign of slowing down), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit audiences are no stranger to a revolving door of cast members.

In fact, series star Mariska Hargitay — who portrays tough-as-nails mama bear Lieutenant Olivia Benson — is the only original player who remains on the show. Co-star Ice-T follows not far behind, as he is still heavily entrenched in the role of Sergeant Tutuola, after joining the series at the beginning of the its second season.
Between police officers putting in for their retirement and district attorneys getting in trouble with the law, Manhattan SVU and the prosecutor's office has seen its fair share of changes. Read on for SVU's most heartbreaking exits, and who we can definitely count on to return to the NYPD once again.
Elliot Stabler
It’s been nearly 7 years since Chris Meloni left the role that arguably put him on the map, and fans still aren’t over the departure of his beloved character, Detective Elliot Stabler. Luckily, Meloni has said he’s more than willing to return to the show in a series finale, but the 19-year-old procedural is still going strong.Until we get our SVU miracle (and hopefully a Benson-Stabler hookup), we’ll have Meloni’s reunions with former co-star and best friend Hargitay to tide us over.

Captain Donald Cragen
Dann Florek’s exit from SVU was extra bittersweet, as his role as Captain Donald Cragen spanned not only 15 years on SVU, but an additional three years on the original flagship, Law & Order, from 1990-93. While we love seeing Lieutenant Olivia Benson oversee the precinct where she’s spent nearly two decades, we still miss Cragen’s firm but kind rule as a father figure over the 16th Precinct. But hey, the guy had to retire sometime, right?

Sergeant John Munch
We can’t imagine it was easy for Richard Belzer to hang up his hat as Detective-turned-Sergeant John Munch — particularly since the character holds the record for appearing on the most television shows.In addition to SVU, the surly, sarcastic cop has starred on Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street and made appearances on The X-Files, The Wire, Arrested Development, 30 Rock and The Beat. In total, Munch has appeared on ten different television shows.
Munch has returned to the SVU screen as a guest star following his departure, and we’re certain it’s not the last we’ll see of our favorite conspiracy theory-loving officer.

ADA Alexandra Cabot
Actress Stephanie March has drawn in SVU audiences since Season 2, when she took on the role of fierce and passionate Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot. She prosecuted the toughest criminals through Season 5, when her character entered the Witness Protection Program after putting herself in the middle of a case involving a drug overlord. Cabot returned for a guest appearance in Season 6 and later made reappearances in Seasons 10, 11 and 13 before leaving for a new job at the prosecutor's office of the International Criminal Court.

Detective Nick Amaro
Fans were slow to warm up to Detective Nick Amaro, who took over as then-Detective Benson’s partner following the exit of Elliot Stabler. As viewers caught glimpses of Amaro’s hot-headedness and big heart, they discovered he actually wasn’t all that different from Benson's former partner. It took some time for Benson to warm up to him, but it wasn’t long before he (platonically) wormed his way into her heart. Danny Pino left the role of Amaro after three seasons, when the character moved to California to be closer to his child.

Detective Brian Cassidy
Detective Brian Cassidy left SVU smack dab in the middle of Season 1 and surprised fans everywhere when he returned in Season 13 after a long and intense stint undercover. Over the course of the next few years, diehard fans remained divided over Cassidy’s presence, as he and Benson entered into a serious relationship after having a one-night stand back in the first season. The two split in Season 15 and Cassidy returned as divisive as ever in Season 19 when he broke the news to Benson that she was being investigated for child abuse. Dean Winters is set to reprise his role again later in the season, but details of the appearance have been kept under wraps.

ADA Rafael Barba
Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba — portrayed by actor Raul Esparza — was late to the SVU universe, but that fact didn’t make him any less beloved to fans. Barba was a recurring character in season 14 before being upped to a series regular in the show’s 15th season.
Fans latched onto Barba’s passion for justice, in addition to his style and camaraderie with the precinct, particularly Lieutenant Benson. Esparza exited the show in the middle of its 19th season — devastating many fans — but as is the case with most of SVU’s revolving cast, the door has remained open for him to return.

Ryan O'Halloran
The forensic technician was a fixture on the show for several years as a part of the Crime Scene Unit. Tragically, O’Halloran is one of the few recurring characters to be killed off the show. The show’s 11th season finale was actor Mike Doyle’s final episode, which saw O’Halloran murdered by his forensic assistant, Dale Stuckey. O'Halloran wasn't a main player, but that didn't make his death any less heartbreaking for SVU fans.

ADA Casey Novak
Actress turned potential Congressional candidate Diane Neal first appeared on SVU in Season 3 as a perp before she took on a new role in Season 5 as Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak, replacing outgoing ADA Alex Cabot. Novak got off to a rocky start with detectives and remained a divisive character until she left in the show’s ninth season with her law career in jeopardy. She returned in Season 13 — law career intact — as a recurring character alongside Alex Cabot, but hasn’t made another appearance since then.

Dr. George Huang
Forensic psychiatrist/FBI Agent Dr. George Huang first graced SVU screens toward the end of Season 2. The character was incredibly valuable to the squad, thanks in no small part to his superior criminal profiling skills.  His killer insight often led detectives to cracking even the toughest criminals. Actor B.D. Wong exited the show in Season 12, but later made return appearances in Seasons 13, 14, 15 and 17.


Thursday, February 15, 2018


Any chance of romance for Olivia when SVU returns? — Daryl Well, her ex Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) is returning! But he’s actually going to be the prime suspect in a murder case, so that might complicate things. Here’s what happens: Brian loses his temper on the stand, causing a mistrial, meaning the doctor who was arrested for sexually abusing his patients is set free. Said doctor is found murdered later that night and Homicide Detective Holiday (Kylie Bunbury) suspects Cassidy is the culprit, but no one can find him. But I can! Well, I can find him in these exclusive photos from SVU‘s Feb. 28 return:



Lastest Post

'Law & Order: SVU' Actress Mariska Hargitay Opened up about Her Family in a Candid Interview

From: "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" actress Mariska Hargitay shares never-before-known facts about how...