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The Most Heartwarming Benson Moment Ever On Law & Order: SVU

The facts of Olivia Benson's past (Mariska Hargitay) prior to joining the NYPD in "Law & Order: SVU" might give a clue as to why the detective is so concerned about perpetrators of sexual assault and their survivors. Benson was conceived as a result of her mother's rape and knows how much these cases impact those involved.

"Law & Order: SVU" producer Neal Baer commented once that if Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) represents the anger and raw injustice a witness can feel about sexual assault, then "Mariska is the empathetic, passionate voice for these victims" (via TV Guide). Benson isn't perfect, but she tries to practice compassion and tolerance while dealing with stressful, emotionally distressing cases and violent perpetrators.

This one episode, however, is the kindest and most self-sacrificing Benson has ever been with another character on the show. 

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).

Olivia Benson won't give up on a child in danger

The Season 7 episode "911" showcases the heroism of Detective Olivia Benson when she receives an emergency call from a little girl named Maria who claims she's been kidnapped. Doubts over the authenticity of the call build, with a changing phone signal and a possible tape loop causing confusion, but Benson refuses to give up.

Since it aired, "911" has been featured in several lists of the best "Law & Order: SVU" episodes. Mariska Hargitay's performance was also lauded by critics, including TV Guide, who wrote that the actress "runs the emotional gamut from frantic desperation to vengeful resolve." Hargitay even received an Emmy for her work in the episode, her only win among eight nominations.

What stands out about Benson in "911" isn't just her determination but the character's gentle treatment of Maria, singing with the terrified child and asking about her family. U/OGCucumber07 wrote on the r/SVU subreddit that Benson's "compassion and dedication was on full wattage." Meanwhile, on IMDb, user alexandrajade noted that "we see every side of the Benson character in this episode — sadness, compassion, pleading, rage, hope, relief, and about a million micro-emotions [that are] hard to even describe with words." 

More than any episode of "Law & Order: SVU," "911" highlights how much Benson cares about people in need of her help.