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The Shocking Amount Mariska Hargitay Is Paid Per Law And Order Episode

Mariska Hargitay was born to famous parents — her mother is the actress and sex symbol Jayne Mansfield and her father is the former Mr. Universe, Mickey Hargitay. Despite her family's star status, tragedy struck when Hargitay was 3 years old. According to History, she was riding in a car with her two older brothers in the back seat, while her mother, her lawyer, and their driver were in the front. After hitting the back-end of a trailer truck, all three adults were killed, while Hargitay and her brothers survived.

She and her brothers went to live with her father and his third wife, which provided her with some much-needed stability. In an interview with Closer Weekly, she talked about how her father helped her become the person she is. "The message I got from my father was that life is hard, but you just don't quit," she said. "I'd get an audition and he'd say, 'How hard are you going to work for it?' So I pushed myself even when I didn't feel like pushing myself."

Today, Hargitay is one of the highest paid actresses on television, and given the transformation Hargitay has gone through to get there, it seems well-deserved. Here's how much she makes from each episode of "Law & Order: SVU."

Mariska Hargitay is one of TV's highest-paid actresses

According to The Things, Mariska Hargitay earns $450,000 an episode for "Law & Order: SVU" — an amount of money that may seem staggering to some, but when looking at other television actresses' paychecks for popular television series, it doesn't seem so outrageous. For example, when "Friends" was on the air, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow made history by negotiating $1 million an episode (per Business Insider). 

After 20 years, "Law & Order: SVU" consistently ranks as one of the strongest shows airing on NBC, so the fact that Hargitay would be one of the highest-paid TV actresses makes sense (per The Hollywood Reporter). She's put in a lot of time and effort for her role as Detective Olivia Benson. After she got the role, Hargitay trained to become a rape crisis advocate so she could understand her character better (via Maria Shriver). She also started the Joyful Heart Foundation, and told Maria Shriver that she wanted "to do more. To help survivors heal and reclaim their lives. In 2004, the Joyful Heart Foundation was my answer."

Hargitay may not really be a police officer, but she's definitely an actress that has put her compassion and money she earns towards making this world a better place. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).