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Law & Order: Special Victims to unlock Benson’s ‘trauma’ in Season 24

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: CBS

The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunners are promising some special focus on Olivia Benson in Season 24.

After already teasing developments in a relationship between Benson and Elliot Stabler, showrunner David Graziano and head writer Julie Martin share how Benson will face her trauma throughout her life and how to handle the future.

They also shared insight on how a new detective joins the SVU team and what comes after the big Law & Order crossover that begins the season.

There’s also how Benson will deal with the departure of one of her key detectives.

These add to the issues of Benson with her former partner Stabler and preparing for other dark cases. 

With a few weeks until the Season 24 premiere, this promises more fun for the drama as Benson looks to be in a wringer for the year. 

What’s coming on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24?

The Season 24 premiere will be the middle part of the planned three-part crossover with the other Law & Order series.

Showrunner David Graziano and head writer Julie Martin had stated this crossover would be a separate story. Thus, in essence, the second episode is the true Season 24 premiere for the series.

Speaking to The Wrap, the pair gave insight into how this episode has a powerful case with Benson clashing with another cop.

“‘The One You Feed’ starts our season off with a bang. There’s a case that comes up, a grisly, high profile case, a subway attack of a tourist family. And there’s a gang behind it. So it brings Benson into conflict with a rival captain on the gang unit, and he thinks it’s a gang case from his estimation, and he doesn’t know anything about sex crimes, doesn’t care to view it as a sex crime. But for Benson, of course, the element of the crime that takes most prominence is the fact that it’s a sex crime. So it allows Mariska to go toe-to-toe with a very formidable actor by the name of Maurice Compte. They’re just great together.”

The episode will also introduce Detective Grace Muncie, played by Molly Burnett of Queen of the South. So far, the part is recurring, but there is the possibility that Muncie will join the SVU team. 

“There are some great scenes between her and Mariska. And then you see her more in Episode 3, and Benson really takes her under her wing.”

According to Martin, Season 24 will focus on how much Benson has been through over the years and how it weighs on her. 

“What we’re trying to explore this year is Benson has been through a lot of trauma over the 23 years. It’s time to really explore that trauma, do a deep dive into that and figure out how to move through it and how to get past it rather than just live in the trauma. So that informs a lot of the storytelling. Obviously all SVU cases involve a level of trauma. But she’s looking at it in a different way, getting healing for survivors, getting justice for survivors, was paramount, and we hope to add an additional element of healing from trauma and a long term way to a lot of these cases through Benson’s experiences.”

This focus adds to other turns coming for Benson in Season 24. 

How does Benson handle Rollins leaving?

Law & Order SVu
Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Rollins (Kelli Giddish) check on a victim on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

One issue fans don’t have to worry about is the idea of Benson turning in her badge.

Last season, as she recovered from a car crash, Benson had briefly contemplated retiring from the force. But Graziano assures fans she’s not considering that anymore. 

“She’s moving into a new phase of her career. She’s absorbed a lot of trauma, not just her own just, but [from] other people. What must it be like to go to work every day and see the darkest parts of humanity [evident] in front of you and have to confront that?”

While the always-hanging question of Benson and Stabler having a possible romance was approached, the pair pointed out how each character has issues that could prevent it.

Martin related that Stabler is still mourning his wife, and Benson has her own troubles, so “maybe rushing into a relationship right now isn’t the best thing for either one of them.” 

The pair also touched on how Benson might handle the coming departure of Amanda Rollins. While details are tight on how Kelli Giddish leaves the series in Episode 9, her last shows will focus on the developed friendship of Rollins and Benson. 

Martin stated that “I mean, it’s gone, obviously from their beginnings when they weren’t, and now they’re the best of friends. They’ve grown so much closer over the years, and we’re finding more ways to explore that relationship and how to take their relationship deeper and have them talk about what each other’s going through, and that’s been great to write.”

As Season 24 is set to begin, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans can get ready for a deep examination of Olivia Benson and her problems for a dramatic year.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24 premieres Thursday, September 22 at 9/8c on NBC.