Behind The Scenes Behind-The-Scenes Secrets From 'Law & Order: SVU' That'll Make The Theme Song Play In Your Head  

Carly Silver
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Nearly 20 years in, Law & Order: SVU is still one of TV's best dramas, replete with horrifying crimes and criminals. But there are probably tons of things you didn't know about Law & Order: SVU and its star, Mariska Hargitay. From the impetus behind its creation to the origins of its lead characters' names and how Hargitay has been inspired to give back, there are tons of fascinating secrets from behind the scenes of Law & Order: SVU.

Hargitay, in particular, is connected to her character, Olivia Benson. She finds herself deeply affected by intense storylines, and once got severely injured while doing her own stunts. Her longtime co-star, Christopher Meloni (who played Detective Elliot Stabler), starred on the show for over a decade, but harbored secret opinions on the Benson and Stabler pairing before he left. 

An Episode About Parental Abuse Really "Wrecked" Mariska Hargitay

One SVU episode really emotionally "wrecked" star Mariska Hargitay, she said. The Season 19 entry featured a conversation between a victim and her character, Lieutenant Benson. In the process, Benson dredged up a lot of repressed memories and emotions about her own father: She was conceived by rape. Hargitay told E! News, "We were wrecked... Actually I was wrecked for about three more days. It was hard for me to switch gears into the next episode." 

She added:

She spent so much time proving to everybody that she's OK and she can handle the things that happened to her, but in this way, one of the things at the end is she's so broken and so victorious. Because despite these pains, despite what she's been through, she's still victorious…she's even succeeded in this painful job, she's still in the middle of fighting for her child, she's still doing it…She keeps showing herself how strong she…she's brave enough to go inward.

Richard Belzer Is A Big Weed Smoker

Who knew Detective John Munch was such a fan of illegal substances? Richard Belzer, the actor who plays Munch, blazes up regularly. Fellow comedian Bill Maher once said of Belzer, “I never once saw him do a set sober.” Belzer first became interested in pot when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Since then, he has become an advocate for the use of medical marijuana. 

Mariska Suffered A Collapsed Lung After Performing A Stunt

In 2009, Mariska Hargitay suffered an alarming injury on set. She was chasing a bad guy while in character, and felt a sudden chest pain. She ignored the injury, only to eventually find out her right lung was 50% collapsed.

Thankfully, she got the surgery she needed, but this experience triggered her. She lost her mom at a very young age in a car crash, so the accident woke her up to the fact she has a lot to live for. 

Christopher Meloni Didn't Want Stabler And Benson To Hook Up


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Cop partners Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler always had explosive chemistry. Given that inter-office romances are pretty common on SVU, why didn't the pair ever hook up? Christopher Meloni argued it was important the two never crossed the line. He said that a hookup "would be the death knell of that relationship. I think they needed to keep that line taut and very clear … Keep the tension, never cross it."