Mariska Harigtay plays Olivia Benson, the ambitious and emotionally driven detective, a role for which she won the 2006 Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series.
The role also earned her a Golden Globe Award in 2004, two previous Emmy Nominations, three SAG Award nominations and a Gracie Allen Award for American Women in Radio and Television.
"As a woman, it's gratifying to play such a multi-layered part. Olivia is not only a competent, street-smart cop, she's also an empathetic woman who can respond emotionally to victims of terrible crimes without compromising her professionalism," says Hargitay.
Hargitay is also known to NBC viewers for her recurring role on "E.R." as Dr. Greene's (Anthony Edwards) girlfriend, Cynthia Hooper, in the 1997-98 season of the top-rated show.
She also gained notice as a cast regular in the sitcom "Can't Hurry Love" with Nancy McKeon and Louis Mandylor. Additional television credits include guest roles on NBC's "Seinfeld," "Ellen" and "thirtysomething," and starring roles on "Falcon Crest" and "Prince Street." Hargitay was also seen in the telefilms "The Advocate's Devil" and "Night Sins," as well as the Lifetime movie "Plain Truth."
Her film credits include the thriller "Lake Placid," written by David E. Kelley and starring Bridget Fonda, the critically acclaimed "Leaving Las Vegas," David Lynch's "Hotel Room," Bob Fosse's "Star 80," and Michael Rymer's "Perfume."
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hargitay is the youngest daughter of screen legend Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay. She divides her time between New York and Los Angeles. The UCLA graduate speaks Hungarian, French and Italian.
Hargitay is married to actor Peter Hermann, who starred most recently in Universal/Working Title's "United 93" and has a recurring role on "SVU" as attorney Trevor Langan. The couple recently gave birth to their first child, a son.