If there is one female TV character that every girl should look up to, it’s Olivia Benson. The crime-fighting superhero — because not all superheroes wear capes — not only lays down the law, but also shares words of wisdom that we should all live by on almost every episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Trust us — we’ve seen them all twice.
In honor of Mariska Hargitay’s 54th birthday, we are looking back at her most powerful quotes on the police procedural. And now, more than ever, her words are inspirational and insightful. Nearly two decades since it’s premiere, Mariska continues to bring to the small screen Olivia’s compassion, but also her “I am woman, hear me roar” attitude.
“I’m still here because it’s still challenging and interesting to me. I feel like we keep going deeper and mining out these new places. After 12 years [of doing the show], I thought, ‘What are we going to do after 12 years?’ It was such an education for me because I had no idea,'” Mariska said in 2016 of her iconic role. “It’s very exciting to me… and it still feels utterly fresh.”
(Photo Credit: NBC)
That’s not to say Olivia’s backstory is not without its challenges. The daughter of an alcoholic mother and an abuse victim herself, Olivia can relate to the victims she encounters episode after episode on the NBC drama. She is proof that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. In the words of Olivia herself, “We’re all branded I guess. By our parents, our childhoods.”
We shouldn’t be surprised Olivia continues to be our girl crush and daily inspo — there is a reason Taylor Swift named one of her cats after her. Keep scrolling for even more Olivia Benson quotes!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Life & Style.
Olivia Benson 6
“Everybody changes every day and some things are more devastating than others, but we never are the same, and there are two ways to deal with these changes: you either accept them or you fight them like hell all the way.”
— Season 1, episode 10
Olivia Benson 10
“I trust my instincts. If I don’t have that, I shouldn’t be here.”
— Season 13, episode 17
Olivia Benson 4
"Once you tell your story, it can be empowering.”
— Season 16, episode 18
Olivia Benson 8
"There are two things that you need to know about me. First — I like an open and free exchange of ideas. And second — I’m usually right."
— Season 17, episode 8
Olivia Benson 1
“Some things, you can put them behind you... but they do change you.”
— Season 15, episode 18
Olivia Benson 5
“Healing begins when someone bears witness. I saw you. I believe you.”
— Season 13, episode 6
Olivia Benson 9
"Running away doesn’t make it over."
Olivia Benson 7
"I don't need anybody to hold my hand."
— Season 14, episode 2
Olivia Benson 2
"Nothing changes... except what has to."
— Season 15, episode 4
Olivia Benson 3
"Don't you just hate to see a grown man cry? Highlight of my day. "
— Season 12, episode 2
Olivia Benson 11
"You think I'm a b---h, don't you? You're not the first."
— Season 11, episode 7