Mariska Hargitay on 'Today': 'Law & Order: SVU' winter premiere was 'traumatizing'

mariska-hargitay-on-today-show.jpg

A TV show can change so much in a matter of 15 seasons, and according to Mariska Hargitay, that's what's happened to "Law & Order: SVU."

Hargitay went on the "Today" show on Wednesday (Jan. 8) and told anchor Matt Lauer that the show feels completely new to her these days. 

"I think it's been a journey," Hargitay says. "I think the writing changes now that we have new showrunners. It feels to me like a different show now, which I think is a great thing. After 15 years the show feels so unbelievably fresh, and that's a gift."

The Jan. 8 winter premiere was a tough one for Hargitay to shoot, as her character, Det. Olivia Benson, had to relive a violent kidnapping as the case against her disturbed attacker goes to trial. 

"This episode was traumatizing for me just to shoot it, and I deal with these issues every day," Hargitay says. "It's about Olivia being a victim that she continually takes care of, so the tables are turned."

According to Hargitay, the episode won't be able to provide complete closure for Benson. 

"What she went through I don't know that she can recover from," Hargitay says. "It has changed her. She's still fighting PTSD. Once she thought she got him, he got in there again in a deep and very painful way."

"Law & Order: SVU" airs Wednesdays on NBC at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Photo/Video credit: NBC