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“You can’t be a cast member on this show and not have like a baby a year,” joked Mariska Hargitay (Lt. Olivia Benson), who spoke with TODAY on the “SVU” set Thursday ahead of the series’ 18th season.

“I have three kids, Ice-T [Det. Odafin Tutuola] and Kelli [Giddish, Det Amanda Rollins] [have one baby each], Peter [Scanavino, Det. Dominick Carisi Jr.] has two, and there are days when the kids are here and you’re like, ‘Is this a day care center?'” she added.

It’s true, though; the baby boom behind the scenes at “SVU” has been making headlines for almost a year.

Scanavino says he’s brought his children (who are 4 and 8 months) to the set for special photo ops.

“You bring them in here, put them in jail, take photos,” he laughed. “Of course! And all our kids know each other.”

“It’s like ‘Romper Room’ back there,” noted Raúl Esparza (ADA Rafael Barba). “You’ll get pelted by a giant ball in the hallways on your way to the west wing, where the writers are.”

“Ludo [Giddish’s 9-month-old] and Chanel [Ice T’s 10-month old] are like girlfriend/boyfriend situation,” grinned Ice T. “We got good kids. This show is like a sitcom behind the set.”

He then made sure to pull up a melt-worthy image of Chanel holding Ludo’s hand during a recent photo shoot on his cell. We found it on Instagram and are now puddles on the floor:

Cast members agree having kids around is a good thing.

“You go home and you look into your children’s eyes and it changes everything,” says Hargitay. “It’s like, everything’s OK because you’re right here in front of me and now I see life and newness and hope and beauty and all those things we see.

“Our kids can take the day off us … It’s a love chain here. We are in it together,” she says.

Including the next generation!

“Law & Order: SVU” returns to NBC on Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. ET.

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On Sunday, October 25th, usa network is teaming with Mariska Hargitay, the Joyful Heart Foundation, the NO MORE campaign, and NFL players to host a special “Law & Order: SVU” NO MORE Excuses Marathon in commemoration of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The marathon will feature 14 powerful episodes wrapped with newly filmed interstitials, PSAs and digital content throughout the day. The new interstitial campaign features Hargitay and NFL stars — including William Gay (Pittsburgh Steelers), Andrew Hawkins (Cleveland Browns), Mark Herzlich (New York Giants), Ben Watson (New Orleans Saints) and Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys) – encouraging everyone to “get off the sidelines” to help stop domestic violence and sexual assault.

“I’m proud and heartened to stand with USA and NFL players to say NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Mariska Hargitay. “Being part of NO MORE from the beginning has been a great privilege. We must confront the myths and excuses surrounding-and perpetuating-domestic violence and sexual assault. Together, we can bring an end to this violence.”

During each episode of the 14-hour SVU marathon, viewers will be encouraged to take a pledge to get involved at NOMORE.org and seek additional information from national hotlines and other resources. Throughout the day, USA, Joyful Heart, and NO MORE also will use social media platforms to encourage conversation and inspire greater action to stop and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. People can follow and join the dialogue by using #NOMOREexcuses.

NO MORE is a public awareness campaign designed to engage bystanders around ending domestic violence and sexual assault. In addition to the new content broadcast during Sunday’s marathon, PSAs created by Y&R, produced by Joyful Heart, directed by Hargitay and featuring celebrities, public figures and athletes will air. These PSAs that highlight the myths and excuses that create misplaced blame on survivors and allow perpetrators to escape accountability will also air. The goal of all the NO MORE PSAs is to help normalize the conversation and break the social stigma surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault. By increasing visibility and fostering more dialogue, NO MORE seeks to change social norms, improve public policies, and generate more resources to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.

USA has been a leading champion of the effort to stop domestic violence and sexual assault, teaming with Joyful Heart and NO MORE over a year ago to create the “NO MORE Excuses” SVU marathons. Throughout six marathons held since April 2014, more than 25 million viewers have tuned in and gotten critical information and support. The National Sexual Assault Hotline operated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the National Domestic Violence Hotline and other NO MORE coalition partners have seen tremendous increases in calls and website traffic during each marathon. For example, during the April 2014 marathon, the National Sexual Assault Hotline saw a 106% increase in the number of people helped; the National Domestic Violence Hotline had a 21% increase in calls; 1in6.org experienced a 116.2% increase in web traffic and the NO MORE website received a 2,463% surge in traffic. In addition, the hashtags #sayNOMORE, #NOMORE and #NOMOREexcuses trended nationally during the marathon.

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“TRANSGENDER BRIDGE”

09/30/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : WHEN A TRANSGENDER TEEN IS TAUNTED BY HIGH SCHOOL KIDS, BULLYING ESCALATES TO TRAGEDY

15 year-old Avery Parker (guest star Christopher Dylan) walks home from school through Fort Tryon Park when she’s surrounded by a group of rowdy boys. Taunts and jokes intensify to pushing and shoving, leaving Avery in the hospital and three assailants under arrest. When the DA’s office decides to try one of the culprits, 15 year-old Darius McCrae (guest star Dante Brown), as an adult, the SVU squad agonizes over whether the punishment fits the crime, and must deal with the pain of both families involved. Starring Mariska Hargitay (Sgt. Olivia Benson), Ice T (Det. Odafin Tutuola), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi). Also guest starring Robert Sean Leonard (ADA Kenneth O’Dwyer), Adrienne Moore (Cheryl McCrae), Bill Irwin (Dr. Peter Lindstrom), Jessica Phillips (Pippa Cox), Danny Burstein (Eric Parker) and Rebecca Luker (Lisa Parker).




There’s no doubt Taylor Swift is an unabashed fan of Olivia Benson, the Manhattan police sergeant on Law & Order: SVU played by Mariska Hargitay. Not only is one of her cats named after the character, Swift even invited Hargitay to be a part of her ever-growing squad, which includes Karlie Kloss, Cara Delevingne, and Selena Gomez, when the actress appeared in “Bad Blood” music video.

So it made perfect sense to ask the 51-year-old actress if Swift would return the favor and appear on an episode of the long-running NBC crime drama.

“We just talked about it,” Hargitay told ET during a break from filming. “We’re going to wait until the end of the [1989 World] tour to see how it goes. But it’s in the air.”

While fans will have to wait mid-December before the show can finalize plans with the singer, executive producer Warren Leight offered the next best solution. “We’re thinking of naming a squad room cat Taylor,” he said.

“The squad room needs to get a cat or I need to get a cat and name it Taylor,” Hargitay joked, “either one.”

When asked about appearing at the MTV Video Music Awards with Swift and her “Bad Blood” co-stars, Hargitay simply said it was “an experience” before adding: “The best part of going with Taylor and the girls was that they were so supportive, wonderful and fun.”

“It’s a good posse to jump into,” Hargitay said of her new gal pals.

Even though they’re working on getting Swift for the show, both Hargitay and Leight confirmed a few upcoming guest stars during ET’s visit to the set. Virginia Madsen (Sideways) will appear in episode six as the mother of Det. Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Adrienne Moore (Cindy on Orange Is the New Black) is in the second episode.

The two-premiere will feature Dallas Roberts (The Good Wife) as a Robert Durst-inspired killer and mark the return of Elizabeth Marvel (House of Cards) as Counselor Rita Calhoun.

Meanwhile, cast members of the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton, will make their way through SVU. Daveed Diggs, who plays Thomas Jefferson on stage, will reunite with his Hamilton co-star Leslie Odom Jr., who recurs as Reverend Curtis Scott on the series.

“It was like SVU: The Musical,” Hargitay gushed about filming with the two stars just a day prior.

The new season of Law & Order: SVU premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m.

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Olivia Benson remains arresting, even after all these years.

The tough yet compassionate detective played by Mariska Hargitay on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is the favorite female character on TV, with 21% of the vote, according to a national poll to be released Wednesday.

“I’m so totally honored,” Hargitay told the Daily News. “Wow. A little floored, actually. I think it might have been all that early campaigning I did in New Hampshire. And the Iowa vote was definitely important. I keep thinking, if you’d told me I’d ever get news like this when I started the show 17 years ago, I would have said you’re out of your mind. Thrilled. Flattered. Man, I love my fans.”

Hargitay added, “I feel honored and grateful to play this character. I am aware that this is not about me, it’s about who Olivia is and what she represents. She is a strong, dedicated, and fierce advocate for justice. She has a strong moral compass. She is the mother, the lioness, and the heroine we would all want fighting on our behalf.”

Coming in a distant second with 8% is Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon on “Empire,” followed by Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen on “Game of Thrones” with 7%.

Trailer Park, a marketing agency, queried 1,200 people, split between genders, in early June. The respondents are over 13 and watch seven hours or more of TV a week, including at least one show where a woman is the lead.

Respondents chose from among 36 characters and 17 series, including Jessica Lange’s Constance Langdon of “American Horror Story,” Ana Ortiz’s Marisol Suarez of “Devious Maids” and Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood of “House of Cards.”

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who first applied a feminist test to films in 1985, inspired this poll, says D’nae Kingsley, head of integrated strategy for Trailer Park. Bechdel’s test for gender equality requires that two women talk to each other in the film, with their conversation being about something other than a man.

The poll’s most curious finding is that 31% of males ages 13 to 17 identify as feminists, while only 13% of women over 55 do. Even the pollsters were trying “to wrap their heads around this,” Kingsley says.

The characters named as favorites are intelligent, tough, beautiful, strong-willed and self-confident. Benson winning was a surprise only because “SVU” has been on for so long, Kingsley notes. On Sept. 23, it begins its 17th season.

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American television’s pantheon of prime-time goddesses is, by some accounts, a modern construct. Women such as Tea Leoni’s Elizabeth McCord in Madam Secretary and Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife, who are defined by strength of character more than simply gender.

But both those women, and their peers, have a forebear, a woman who was defining feminine strength long before the so-called present golden age of prime-time television. Her name is Olivia Benson and she’s played by Mariska Hargitay. For more than 350 hours of television she has been the star of the seemingly indestructible Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Though the male/female partnership concept is not new, what made creator Dick Wolf’s interpretation so distinct was that Benson and her then-partner, Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), were not shoehorned into the cliche of unresolved sexual tension. Rarely, and powerfully, they were presented as genuine equals. That partnership lasted 272 episodes.

“I know Dick cast me because I was strong and this was a very empathetic character, but I think that she has grown in to what she is now, I think I’ve grown her if you will, and that’s what’s interesting about it,” Hargitay explains to The Guide. “I wanted to make her tough but also empathetic and compassionate … I thought they were such important things.”

For Hargitay, what mattered was that Olivia Benson was a “very strong, a very three dimensional character. Take no prisoners but empathetic and flawed and complex. This is a person who thinks outside the box and so is Dick Wolf and so am I. It’s been a beautiful evolution.”

The peculiarly dark nature of Special Victims Unit – it focuses on violent sex crimes – makes it a tough platform for storytelling. In some 16 years, however, actress and character have fused in an unusual way. Hargitay has, in her own life, become an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, creating a foundation named Joyful Heart.

It began, she explains, when she was researching the role. “I was trying to figure out how to best serve and play this role and how to best inform myself and how to best deal with these crimes,” she says. “By educating myself and learning the statistics I was just so horrified, I was so in shock. I just remember my jaw dropping.”

After shock, she says, came anger. “I was so enraged that this was something that was going on in our society and in our culture and in our world and that people just weren’t talking about it,” she says. “The show was a platform for me to effect change. And with people disclosing to me their stories of abuse, I realised there was indeed an epidemic.”

One of the many empowering aspects of Hargitay’s performance is in some respects the least overtly stated. At the age of 50, she is in an age bracket when, historically, actresses struggle to own high-profile real estate in the television schedule.

“It’s been liberating for women because I think late forties and early fifties is when women are really connected to their fearlessness and look at life differently, [we] have all this beautiful wisdom to draw from, to make even better decisions,” Hargitay says.

“It’s been beautiful for me to have this evolution on television,” she adds. “It’s been beautiful to grow this woman up and to be this character that we’ve all watched earn her place, right? And it’s been a very exciting journey and I hope an inspirational one for people.”

Hargitay was born in 1964 into the most of Hollywood of showbusiness dynasties. Her father was the Hungarian-born bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay. Her mother the iconic sex symbol Jayne Mansfield. The subject is a sensitive one for Hargitay and despite the passage of time her mother remains a powerful figure in her personal life.

“I think she has influenced me in more ways than I know,” Hargitay says. “She was such a pioneer, she was a woman before her time, and she was doing things that nobody else was doing. Being a movie star and having five kids, and sort of living out loud and being fearless and breaking all the rules.

“She was somebody that beat to her own drum and was such a free spirit and I really admire that,” Hargitay adds. “Not to say that it was easy, but she was ambitious and wanted so much of life, and had a huge appetite for it. I think I’m like that a lot. And I think obviously she gave me the idea to be an actor which is a career that I have fallen madly in love with.

“She had a love for family and a love for children,” Hargitay says. “She was a compassionate woman, an empathetic woman, but again somebody who did it the way she wanted to and by her own design, especially at the beginning. She was somebody who had big dreams and followed them. That’s pretty inspiring to me.”

In the 16 or so years that Hargitay has starred in Law & Order, the cast has shifted dynamically around her. Her longtime collaborator, Christopher Meloni, departed the series in 2011. The show’s other senior detective is now Odafin Tutuola, played by Ice-T. In that time, however, there has been one unchanging constant: the show’s creator Dick Wolf.

“Dick surrounds himself with passionate people who are committed and who are artists, so he hires great people and then he trusts them, which is part of his success,” Hargitay says. “He’s a visionary obviously, he has this huge vision and huge appetite, and truly is a seer.

“It’s been interesting to get to know him,” she adds. “He’s a very interesting man. But I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I appreciate his vision and I feel grateful to be part of his world that he created.”

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Q: How about a crossover from Mysteries of Laura with another show?

DM: Oh, yes—[Law & Order] SVU, please. Mariska Hargitay is my best friend in real life. I’ve been on her show as a guest star and that was just awesome. I think it would just be wonderful and hilarious to the audience if we were able to somehow interact with each other.

Q: With the girl power of Mariska on SVU and Sophia Bush on Chicago P.D. Do you get to hang out and give each other tips?

DM: Well, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to hang out with Sophia because she is in Chicago. We have done some press together. I just saw her at the up fronts and we had a big snuggle and giggle fest together. I think she is so wonderful. I can’t say enough about her.

Mariska and Sophia had definitely become close because of those crossovers. The cast of SVU flew out to Chicago and spent a lot of time together.

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USA Network announces a very special look at the longest- running primetime drama currently on television, DICK WOLF PRESENTS: LAW & ORDER: SVU, 16 hours of the series, personally selected by the Emmy Award-winning producer and creator of the hit series, Dick Wolf. As the host of the marathon, Wolf provides viewers with an intimate look at the most iconic episodes of the entire series, beginning Sunday, March 29 at 7/6c with four back-to-back episodes. Additional marathons will run on April 12, May 31 and June 28.

“Each episode of SVU features terrific acting and outstanding storytelling, but these are truly some of the most memorable,” said Wolf. “As we close in on our 400th episode over 16 seasons, it’s the perfect time to look back at the episodes that most resonate with viewers.”

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Q&A with Mariska Hargitay
March 17, 2015

Mariska Hargitay, who plans Sergeant Olivia Benson in the long-running drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU), talks about her character and her directing debut.

TV DRAMA: What do you like about Olivia Benson?
HARGITAY: I love her because I am challenged by her. I never know what’s going to happen. She surprises me. This character has evolved, which is the most exciting part of it. In many ways I feel that it’s a new character because she has gone through so much that has truly transformed her and she sees things differently. She’s getting new opportunities with what happened last year. This dark thing that happened [the kidnapping] changed her, and now she’s been given this gift of light and love and possibility and something that fills her so deeply and yet scares her beyond fear. They say when you are a parent your heart goes from inside to outside. She is just trying to figure it out. I’ve got all these new notes to play. This show has a different tone now and it feels new. After last year, even though in many ways I felt like we kind of peaked, now I’m feeling like we haven’t and there is so much more story to tell.

TV DRAMA: Fans of the show have very faithfully followed Olivia’s personal journey over the last few years.
HARGITAY: Olivia’s journey in so many ways is about hope and truth. As we grow, new doors open for us. Because she [went through so many challenges] it’s like the reward of the universe in a way. She went through the fire and then there was light at the end of the tunnel; there are new challenges, obviously, but it is exciting to be on a new journey. Because of that, the show feels so new and the character feels so new to me. There is nothing old about it; it’s all new issues, new challenges. Olivia has new relationships with each person because of what she has going on in her home life, having the baby that she never had. Even with her boyfriend, work was first. But with this life in front of her, nothing is first and yet her instinct is that work is first, her instinct is justice—do what we need to do to get it done. Now Olivia has new instincts that are like new shoes. It’s very unwieldy.

TV DRAMA: You directed for the first time last season. What was that like?
HARGITAY: It was thrilling for me. It’s something I wanted to do for a long time and something that in some ways felt extremely familiar and was a completely natural fit. I was panting, Let me get in there! Let me get in there! And in other ways it was extremely challenging and I’d think, Oh, I didn’t know about this! It was invigorating and thrilling and part of it was that I’ve done this for so long, I wanted to try something else. Sometimes I get so invested in the acting and the story that I know, because I’ve been acting for so long, that I can help push it to a new level. There are things we know that we can do and then there are things we don’t know that we can do, but we try because we want to stretch ourselves. But it was thrilling. With Warren [Leight, SVU’s showrunner] I have to say it was our biggest partnership because of the writing and the way he tones the show—I have him in my head. I felt so safe because the show’s so good. It was this unbelievable creative experience because even though I was doing something new and was so scared, there I was, with my family [the cast and crew]; I had my safety net and him. It was the safest high-wire act ever. I was up really high, but I knew they had [the rope] pulled tight. So it was really great. My good friend Alec Baldwin came in and gave such a stunning performance. It was thrilling working with my co-stars and the team in a different capacity. Everyone was so supportive, and fortunately I was lucky enough to direct again this year.

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It was 8 a.m. and approximately 2 degrees when, standing on a Manhattan street corner, I broke a long-standing personal taboo of participating in “gotcha” journalism.

The doors of a Lincoln Town Car opened, and a small, tense woman jumped out of the car, parting the sea of cameras and cell phones belonging to myself and other, lesser, reporters. Behind her emerged the famous redhead … you’d recognize her anywhere.

I took a deep breath. “Charmaine!” I screeched with all the desperate self-righteousness of an Inside Access correspondent. “CHARMAINE! WHAT DID YOU DO WITH YOUR HUSBAND’S SPERM?”

At that exact moment, I realized three things:

1) I was holding my microphone upside down.

2) The top half of the mic had fallen off.

3) Law & Order: SVU cameos are not as easy or glamorous as they appear on TV.

Well, perhaps no one will ever be as glamorous as the Maleficent-cheekboned Marcia Cross, who played the sperm-stealing bandit with a Not-So-Desperate Housewives poise. In last week’s episode, “December Solstice,” in which my belligerent and elaborately-coiffed Reporter #2 debuted, she played a woman scheming to have an heir for her aging husband’s fortune. So desirous indeed that (spoiler alert!) she used an “electro-probe anal erectile procedure” on the corpse of guest star Robert Vaughn to harvest his Man-From-U.N.C.L.E. sperm.

It was Ms. Cross’ allegedly murderous character, Charmaine Briggs, that motivated mine (“Reporter #2) to stand outside in the freezing cold, jostling with a large scrum of tabloid types to get a quote. If you watch the episode, you can clearly see the moment I, among the lessers, accost the ostensibly grieving widow: “Why did you keep Walt from the kids?”

“Jackals!” Ms. Cross’ character cried at us all. “You just want raw meat!” For the moment, I am diligently trying to get the one story of my career; in the next you can see the intensity leave my eyes as I waddle-wander out of frame like a miserable, freezing penguin woken too early. But I’m not gone yet: Two seconds later, you hear my disembodied voice interrupting Charmaine’s lawyer (played by Susie Essman). “CHARMAINE!” I’m yelling questions through a TV inside the TV, as the Sex Crimes Unit watches the melee from their squad room. “WHAT DID YOU DO WITH YOUR HUSBAND’S SPERM?” “Hey, they are not bad questions,” shrugs Detective Rollins (Kelli Giddish). With a shrug, someone mutes the TV report. And me.

Since then, “#GiveReporter2HerOwnShow!” has become a nationally trending hashtag and I am an overnight celebrity. (One Observer colleague who attended my editor’s viewing party noted that she had been watching me play a reporter for years.)

But, here, some backstory may be helpful.

I first met Warren Leight a year after my first real TV trend story, called “Sickos on the Sofa,” where I linked SVU’s tenacious success—outlasting the rest of the franchise, it’s the only Law & Order (stateside) that hasn’t been canceled—to the counterintuitive demo the show attracts: Young adult women. In 2012, I wrote, “Since the show launched 13 years ago, females age 18 to 34 have been its most consistent viewers.” (And it’s most consistent victims.)

“Two-thirds of our audience are women,” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and SVU showrunner Mr. Leight had said at the time. (This gender breakdown is pretty much unheard of for police procedural shows.) “I honestly don’t understand why, completely. I don’t get it when parents say they watch the show with their kids, either.”

To give credit where it’s due, the show serves as perhaps the best PSA on issues of consent, and the difficulty of getting sex crimes cases to court. But how can I LOVE a show that’s about rape and child molestation? Every week? How is THIS what I crave, along with chicken soup and ginger ale, when I’m sick at home? It was nice to know that I wasn’t alone in binging on hunk-with-anger-issues Elliot Stabler (the early years!) and gorgeous, moral, tragically lonely Olivia Benson’s disgust over the depravity of New York’s most heinous sex crimes. But the fate of SVU, in recent years, has been handed down notoriously late in the television season, a clear sign that NBC, like an SVU judge, was only going to allow the show to continue … for now.

My relationship with SVU, New York’s most New York-y show, has always been colored by my (tempered) fandom. Usually I avoid press junkets, but when they invited me to the anniversary of the show’s 16th season in September, I showed up with my iPhone camera already flipped into selfie mode. Come on, there’s Mariska Hargitay photo-bombing Ice-T and me. If I had violated some ethical code of conduct about getting too close to my sources and had been fired the next day … it would have been worth it. There is no better feeling than watching the collective freak-out of all the Cool Kids from high school when you post a photo with the cast of SVU on Facebook.

This year, NBC renewed SVU earlier than usual, a sign that the network has clued in that they have the rare double-jackpot: A basic cable hit with the cultural cache of a “prestige” program that one finds on network TV (FX), premium cable (HBO) or streaming outlets (Netflix). (Other “basics” that are getting it right: The Good Wife, ABC’s Shondaland block, The Simpsons and Hannibal.) I can’t claim my cameo had anything to do with the renewal.

So, does Reporter #2 get her own spin-off storyline next season, the show’s 17th? Perhaps not. As it turns out, I hate acting and am very bad at it. You don’t think someone can ruin a take if they only have two lines? I think the increasingly worried assistant director correcting me—“it’s SPERM, not CUM”—would beg to differ. I also didn’t realize that despite all the permits, filming SVU has a distinctly guerilla feel; you don’t get any notes on what to do … you just get in front of the camera and keep doing it until they let you stop.

One time, Ms. Essman pushed me out of the way—as her character would do—and I spent an hour having to convince myself she wasn’t being aggressive because she was mad about me flubbing a line. ACTING! Also, JOURNALISM!

We had to reshoot the scene about seven times. Though the crowd was large, only myself and Reporter 1 (played by E! Online editor Chris Harnick) had any lines. Yet during the hour or two spent shooting the scene, no one besides myself seemed visibly distracted by, OR IN CRIPPLING PAIN from, the brutal cold. The crew did have one person assigned specifically to find different places on my body to put hand and feet warmers, draping a large coat over my shoulders between takes and ushering E! Online and I inside the brownstone doubling as the day’s interiors whenever we had more than four seconds of down time.

Finally, “O.K., last take! Last take! We’ll get it!” beamed a guy nearby, after the microphone fail.

“In your dreams,” I hissed—but only in my head, because I was worried he might be an unrelated insane person ironically blending into a crowd scene of a cop procedural. Who else would seem that jazzed about just standing around, being very, very cold, having to remind the extras, “SPERM. Not cum. SPERM.”

Eventually, the shoot did end, which meant that my actual job was starting. “So,” I asked Ms. Essman once I had turned my (real) recorder on, “what did you do with YOUR husband’s sperm?”

“Swallowed it,” Ms. Essman barked, not missing a beat. “Next question.”

We talked about her recent appearance on Broad City, as Ilana Glazer’s mother, and how she “wouldn’t be surprised” to see that character make a return appearance. I told her it was pretty remarkable that the Comedy Central series had managed, in the course of her one episode, to instantly render every Sex and the City and Fifty Shades of Grey reference obsolete when Abbi Jacobson ends up “pegging” on a first date.

“I’m sorry,” said Ms. Cross, who had been sitting nearby (and mentioned she’s looking for a new series; Hollywood take note, we’d watch it). “What is pegging?”

The look on my face was probably incredible. “I can always look it up on Google…” she feinted for her phone.

I finally sputtered, “It’s a sex thing where a woman wears a strap-on dildo for anal intercourse with a man … for sex, like … in his butt…”

“Oh my,” said Ms. Cross, mildly.

“You know, it’s like … an Internet thing?” I said with a shrug, like I knew what the hell I was talking about. “Millennials these days…” I sighed.

And then, it gripped me. I had actually educated an actress on SVU—America’s textbook on depravity—who was, mere moments ago, fielding questions about rectal probes used on the dead, about an alternative sexual practice.

Forget Reporter #2. I think I deserve a bigger role in the inevitable “pegging” episode.

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