Mariska Hargitay Returning For ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Season 15

Mariska Hargitay, who has been playing Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for 14 seasons will be returning for a fifteenth.

The fate of Hargitay’s character was left hanging in the balance during the season 14 finale, in which Olivia is left staring down the barrel of a gun before the episode cuts to black (Sopranos flashback, anyone?). The episode, aptly titled “Her Negotiation,” left fans wondering whether Liv would survive the encounter, since Hargitay was still in contract negotiations when the series was renewed in April. The renewal wasn’t much of a surprise, however, since season 14 was averaging a 1.73 in the crucial 18-49 demographic, as well as 6.34 million viewers.

Season 14’s two-hour premiere — which picked up where the season 13 finale ended — first aired on September 26, 2012, to 7.19 million viewers, slightly down from the season 13 premiere to 7.63 million viewers. Subsequent episodes garnered anywhere from 5.20 million to 7.73 million, with the most-viewed episode drawing 8.42 million viewers. The season was initially picked up for 22 episodes, including the 300th episode of the series, but NBC ordered two additional episodes in December. The two-hour season finale premiered on May 22.

Season 15 will consist of 22 episodes, but a premiere date has yet to be set.

The financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed yet, but Hargitay is currently earning $500,000 per episode, making her the highest-paid actress on television.

Mariska Hargitay tweeted the happy news Saturday, writing:

The day after the finale, she playfully tweeted:

Also returning for season 15 are Danny Pino (Nick Amaro), Kelli Giddish (Amanda Rollins), Ice-T (Odafin Tutuola), Dann Florek (Capt. Donald Cragen) and Richard Belzer (John Munch).

Are you happy that Mariska Hargitay is returning for season 15?

[Photo credit: lev radin /]