Olivia Benson is the kind of cop everyone hopes they get to talk to if they ever find themselves the victim of something as horrific as sexual assault.
She is empathetic, warm, and determined to do everything she can to make sure the survivors she encounters are taken care of, no matter who they are.
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Benson goes the extra mile too many times to count, but here are our picks for the top 21 occasions where she went far beyond the call of duty.
Check it out, then come back to share your favorites in the comments!
If you'd like to rewatch any of your favorite Benson moments, don't forget you can watch SVU online right here on TV Fanatic!
Butting Heads With Stabler Over a Murder (Wanderlust, Season 1)
While investigating the death of a travel writer, Benson begins to suspect that his landlord's daughter did it. She had to confront Stabler with her belief that his fears for his own daughters were clouding his judgment of the case, standing up to her partner for the first time. She also had to continually confront the girl despite her explosive mother's threats against the department.
Trying to Reason with a Victim Turned Viglante (Closure Part II, Season 2)
When Benson became aware that a rape victim whose case she was unable to close was stalking her rapist, she went beyond the call of duty to try to intervene before it was too late. Sadly, she didn't stop rape survivor Harper Anderson from becoming a murderer.
Going Too Far to Help a Child (Abuse, Season 2)
The younger sister of a 10-year-old boy who died after being run over attached herself to Benson, who became convinced the little girl was being abused and allowed her to call her at all hours of the day or night for help. Unfortunately for Benson, the parents filed a restraining order and the child denied the abuse to get back at Benson for refusing to let her stay at her house, suggesting that sometimes going the extra mile wasn't the best idea.
Finding and Protecting a Mother in Danger (Protection, Season 3)
After a six-year-old was abandoned by his mother at the ER, the detectives discovered that the mother had a history of giving false names and disappearing after incidents like this. Benson pulled out all the stops to find this woman, especially after her son was killed, and get her to a safe place so that she can testify against the gang members who terrorized her family and murdered her son.
Investigating a Dirty Cop Without Permission (Rotten, Season 4)
Benson went all-out to catch a corrupt cop suspected of sodomizing and killing an arrestee, and paid for it. After going to the 29th Precinct without permission to look at the suspect's log book, she was docked 10 days pay for her behavior.
Helping an Alcoholic Mother Stop Drinking While Pregnant (Choice, Season 5)
When a case involving a woman assaulted at a bar led Benson to realize the woman had one child with fetal alcohol syndrome and was drinking while pregnant with another, Benson struggled with arresting her for violating a court order when she knew the woman's husband was pursuing it to harass her. She continually encouraged the woman throughout the court process and eventually got her to see that she was harming her children through her continued drinking.
Getting the Truth Out of a Scared Victim (Outcry, Season 6)
After a victim recanted her claim that her stepfather raped her, Benson reached out to her to get the truth, leading to the arrest of the real rapist. Even though they lost the case, it turned out to be worth it as another victim came forward thanks to Benson having gone the extra mile to try to get justice.
Refusing to Hang Up on a Potential Victim (911, Season 7)
When a girl called 911 claiming she'd been abducted and was being abused, the rest of the cops thought it was a prank, but Benson was convinced the girl was telling the truth and refused to stop trying to find her. It turned out she was right and thanks to her determination, the girl was found and rescued just in time.
Working A Case Without Blowing Her Cover (Infiltration, Season 8)
While working undercover in Oregon, Benson had to investigate a sex crime without blowing her cover! Despite interference from the FBI and local police, Benson managed to rescue a girl who had been kidnapped and brainwashed and still make it home in time to testify against another rapist.
Going to Prison To Catch a Rapist (Undercover, Season 9)
One of Benson's best-known cases involved her going undercover in state prison to catch a corrections officer who is raping female prisoners. Benson risked her life and safety and very nearly was raped herself in the course of the investigation.
Digging Deep Into the Past to Protect a Kid (Trials, Season 10)
When SVU was called in to help a boy who was being abused by his foster parents, Benson went as far as reopening contact with his birth mother, who was a rape victim she'd met years ago, as well as confronting a doctor who was conducting unethical clinical trials on kids who had ADHD and other neurological conditions.
Going All Out To Catch a Predator (Hardwired, Season 11)
One of Benson's most challenging cases involved a boy who was accused of molesting another -- because he was being raped by his stepfather. His mother, a domestic violence survivor, didn't want to rock the boat with the man she believed had rescued them. Benson ended up having to convince the mother to risk her son getting molested again in order to set up a sting operation and make the arrest.
Fighting an Overworked System To Get Justice (Behave, Season 12)
If a rape suspect had a solid alibi for a rape, most detectives would give up, but not Benson! She was determined to put away a guy who had stalked and raped a woman four times. She had to contend with backlogged and missing evidence and an expired statute of limitations, but in the end, she was able to get the guy arrested not only for these four rapes but for a ton of others he'd committed over the years.
Protecting a Perp's Life (Father's Shadow, Season 13)
Benson often involves herself in hostage situations, but this one really had her going beyond the call of duty! When Eddie Sandow took hostages to try to force SVU to drop charges against his father, Benson not only allowed herself to be taken hostage to try to end the situation peacefully, but deliberately put herself between the perp and the sniper's gun to make sure that he got out alive.
Breaking the Law to Help a Victim (Legitimate Rape, Season 14)
When a TV anchor gets pregnant as the result of a rape and her rapist successfully beats the charge then gets supervised visitation with the child, Benson went to extreme measures, helping mother and child disappear in order to protect them from the child's father.
Going Back into A Nightmare for A Child's Sake (Post-Mortem Blues, Season 15)
Benson faced down the man who had kidnapped and tortured her one last time when he threatened the life of a little girl. Not willing to let Lewis kill an innocent child, Benson surrendered to him and tried to negotiate the child's release from inside, only for her enemy to kill himself in front of her.
Adopting a Baby No One Wanted (Spring Awakening, Season 15)
Benson's life changed dramatically when her dedication to an infant who had been found in a warehouse where children were being forced into porn caused a Family Court judge to ask her if she wanted to adopt the baby.
Using Parental Ties to Catch a Killer (Disappeared Girls, Season 16)
After adopting Noah, Benson again went the extra mile to catch his birth mother's killer. During a complicated investigation of a Mexican sex trafficking circle, she was unable to think clearly because of her love for Noah, but eventually realized that's the key to solving the case and used the promise of reunification with her own son to get a reluctant victim to talk.
Walking Into a Hostage Situation Alone (Townhouse Incident, Season 17)
Benson's desire to go the extra mile this time might have put her in an unnecessarily dangerous situation, as she acted on a hunch without any backup and ended up in another hostage situation while trying to make sure Noah's babysitter was all right.
Advocating for a Victim Who Was Accused of Terrorism (Terrorized, Season 18)
Benson often went up against 1 Police Plaza, but this time everything was at stake. She became convinced that a woman accused of terrorism was a rape victim and determined to get her justice despite the city and federal government's concerns about the victim's intentions towards innocent New Yorkers.
Helping a Bullied Teen Reclaim Her Power (No Good Reason, Season 19)
Benson reached out yet again to a rape victim. This time her ability to understand and comfort survivors really paid off, as a girl who had run away from school after being raped and cyberbullied over it decided to speak up and encourage other survivors to speak up too