A Drunk Trip-Up Almost Got Mariska Fired From Law & Order: SVU

A Drunk Trip-Up Almost Got Mariska Fired From Law & Order: SVU
Image credit: NBC

It's difficult to imagine Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit (SVU) without its main star, Captain Olivia Benson.

Mariska Hargitay has assumed the role since production began on the first season of the spin-off to Law & Order in 1999. The 59-year-old actress has established a quality reputation even if she almost failed to make it past the early days of the show.

Hargitay, who recently sat down with Yahoo!, had several amusing anecdotes to share with fans throughout her tenure on Law & Order: SVU. Hargitay was quick to compliment the cast and crew, despite one early pitfall that nearly sent her packing.

According to Hargitay, while preparing for the role of Detective Benson, the actress decided to get a haircut.

The protocol for the role called for a character with relatively short female hair. Thus, to help pass the time, Hargitay offered a bottle of wine to the hairstylist. Unfortunately, the hair stylist had a little too much to drink, resulting in the hair being chopped off way too short.

Immediately realizing the dilemma, Hargitay rushed to consult Dick Wolf, the legendary creator of Law & Order. Reportedly, Wolf was not pleased with the haircut and nearly fired Hargitay. Thankfully, he gave the actress another chance, and the hair eventually grew back. Hargitay maintained the role, and the rest, as one would say, is history.

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Today, it's nearly impossible to picture Law & Order: SVU without its primary character. Captain Benson has led the New York City Police Department since the departure of Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) in 2011. Accordingly, SVU would resemble something vastly different if not for the performance of Hargitay, who has carried the show and arguably helped make it as popular as the original Law & Order.

Interestingly enough, the close call with SVU was not the first time Hargitay was asked to leave a set. According to the actress, she was originally slated to appear in the much anticipated (yet equally disastrous) 1995 Power Rangers movie. At the time, the role was a huge breakthrough for the actress still seeking to make name for herself. However, after refusing to work throughout the Christmas holiday, she was dismissed as a result.

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While many working professionals may have viewed the dismissal as an ultimate failure, it couldn't have worked better for Hargitay. Less than four years later, she landed the role in Law & Order: SVU. And, one bad haircut later, remains the face of the iconic TV franchise.