Like pretty much every woman I know, I have a major crush on Olivia Benson, the character inhabited by the subtly sexy Mariska Hargitay. Benson is one of the most badass cops on television, and she's a woman, who will pistol whip perpetrators of the city's most "heinous crimes" without batting a perfectly kohl-pencil-lined eye. But what also makes her unmistakably "good police," is her ability to empathize with the victims of sex crimes, never second-guess or patronize them, and certainly never slut-shame victims of sexual assault. She's self-sufficient, completely fulfilled by her career, and in the past few seasons has had relationships with men yes, Liv dates! I'm not saying she's without her issues: she's had a rough childhood, being the child of rape, a fact that compelled her career to give voices to the victims of sex crimes; she lost her mother a drunk to an alcohol-related death. She knows nothing about her father, who committed suicide, and lost her partner, the hunky ex-marine Elliot Stabler, also known as the man she's had the most longstanding relationship with. But if you're an SVU fan as I am, this is old news. Brief recap of last season's cliffhanger: defeated by a mistrial of one of the series' most sadistic offenders, who has a penchant for holding his hostages at gunpoint, at which time he rapes and tortures them, Benson returns home to her Upper West Side apartment.
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