TV Fashion: Olivia Benson from 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' (NBC)

In the world of television fashion reporting, crimes against fashion and poorly dressed characters are considered especially heinous. And when it comes to television series based around cops, ugliness can come in many forms. But for Detective Olivia Benson, played by the lovely Mariska Hargitay on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," style is as integral as the "ching, ching" sound on every Dick Wolf show.

And though we aren't talking Sonny Crockett levels of style, Benson is able to pull off a lot of chicness without taking a lot of risks. First and foremost, let's consider the color options for cops in New York: dark blue and black. That's about all you've got to work with in this town. Then consider that every real detective buys his or her clothes off the rack. Yikes.

And speaking of racks, for whatever reason, Wolf had the good sense to let Hargitay's beauty shine through with a wardrobe that often highlights the curves the actress inherited from her famous mother, Jayne Mansfield. Form-fitting tank tops or tailored button-down shirts in a variety of muted hues often find their way beneath trendy dark track jackets like those from Juicy Couture or Generra. The jackets feature exposed seams and zippered fronts - which Benson has a knack for zipping to the exact proper opening as to show skin but not enough to be deemed inappropriate for her position at the SVU.

In her more official moments, her blazers and jackets again tend to accentuate her shape, but they are more relaxed with softer shoulders - think quintessential Donna Karan with luxurious stretch fabric that tends to drape but is cut to show form. Tahari, Generra and Prada also do this to various levels of success and price, made to highlight a woman's form without much risk.

Where we start to see the gumshoe problem rear its head is from the waist down. A properly equipped detective needs to carry her piece, her rod, her lead dispenser - and that requires a holster and a belt capable of holding one. While we have nothing against big belts or big belt buckles, hip holsters have been out since the Lone Ranger. We suspect Benson chose this type over a shoulder holster because the latter would seem to frame her chest in an abnormal fashion. So a wise decision there, we think.

Slacks in shades of gray, blue and black that give the vibe of durability and comfort are next on the list. Consider straight-leg trousers from Rebecca Taylor and Alice & Olivia as excellent options.

And don't forget the key to the Benson/Hargitay look is the smoky eyes. Deep, dark, mysterious eye shadow goes a long way to catching the bad guys. "Ching, ching."