Hargitay hails impact of ‘SVU’ as it marks 20 seasons

NEW YORK — Mariska Hargitay thinks “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” has played a huge role in educating people on sexual violence, but believes there is still a lot of work to do.

The star of the TV drama spoke as the NBC show celebrated its 20th season Thursday at the Tribeca TV Festival.

“The conversation is in full swing, and that’s very exciting. I think the show has really been a huge part of the cultural education on sexual violence. I think we have taken on the issues of consent and the neurobiology of trauma and created a survivor-centric show that was utterly unique,” Hargitay said.

She even created the Joyful Heart Foundation to help empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

Ice-T, who joined the show at the end of the first season, admits he was surprised by the impact that it has had on its audience.

“It took about a year or so of people saying ‘thank you’ to realize that it was therapy for a lot of people. These are survivors,” he said.

The second annual Tribeca TV Festival, a spinoff of the Tribeca Film Festival, showcases dozens of series premieres. Most will be followed by panel chats with talent, writers and producers.

The 20th season of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” kicks off Sept. 27 with a two-part episode.

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