I couldn’t help but be taken back to a couple of years ago to when Chris Meloni up and left his cushy leading role on Law & Order: SVU. His departure came about when terms could not be met over his contract. This moment in time came flooding back into my mind when it became clear Mariska Hargitay, the female lead of the NBC procedural, was having her own contractual negotiations that were dragging on for months. All I could think was she’s going to leave the show too and it’s clear they don’t think they need her since they renewed the show before negotiations ended. But my fretting proved unnecessary. Hargitay is indeed returning.
Hargitay herself broke the happy news on her Twitter account, saying “Happy weekend. It’s official. Season 15–I’LL BE BACK!” Details on the new deal aren’t readily available, such as what her new salary will be, but I don’t really care too much about what they pay her. At $500,000 per episode in Season 14, Hargitay was TV’s highest-paid actress; so let’s just assume that much hasn’t changed. It didn’t sound like Hargitay has signed on for more than a single season, so perhaps Season 15 will be her last – or maybe the show’s last.
What this means for Hargitay’s character, Olivia Benson, is quite simple. Any danger she was in during the Season 14 finale will not prove to be life threatening! But it’s nice to know the option to kill her off was there just in case Hargitay decided she was done with SVU. I’m sure she’s starting to wonder how much longer she can continue working on this show. Should she and the rest of the cast stick around for another few seasons, perhaps push to reach the same amount as the original Law & Order? Maybe that’s not such a hot idea, but it certainly is an option so long as everyone involved sticks around.