Olivia Benson Will Break in Law & Order: SVU Season 19

Amy Smart and Mariska Hargitay in the "Law
Amy Smart and Mariska Hargitay in the "Law

Hamptonite Mariska Hargitay‘s character, Lieutenant Olivia Benson, is heading down a rough road in the upcoming 19th season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, new showrunner Michael Chernunchin told Entertainment Weekly.

As Chernunchin explains in the interview published today, Benson is starting the season “a broken woman” after the events of Season 18, but he’s not letting it end there. “I’m going to break her more,” said Chernunchin. “I want controversy,” he added while describing an episode that offers a “ripped from the headlines” take on Charlottesville and the Trump administration.

For Benson’s journey, the showrunner—who wrote for the original Law & Order—says much of her strife will involve adopted son Noah. “It gets kicked off in the first episode and it blows up into something very big,” Chernunchin told EW.

“We’re squeezing her between work and family to see if she can survive. Both professionally and personally, she’s going to have a hard time,” he said, but, “…she’ll come out at the other end a better person for it.”

He also confirmed that Southampton resident Brooke Shields‘ much-anticipated mystery role, as someone “who shakes up Benson’s world,” will be related to her son Noah’s storyline.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 19 premieres with Episode 1, “Gone Fishin’,” on NBC tomorrow, Wednesday, September 27 at 9 p.m.

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