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As tough-talking detective Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: SVU,” Mariska Hargitay is rarely at a loss for words.

But in a new series of public service announcements about domestic violence and sexual assault, the 50-year-old Emmy winner shows just how difficult it is for her and other celebrities to talk about the subject.

“There was no one who didn’t have a particular line resonate so deeply that they had to take a moment to gather themselves,” Hargitay, who directed the spots and whose Joyful Heart Foundation produced them, told ABC News.

The new series of PSAs, titled “Speechless,” which start rolling out today, are comprised of just those moments. The new spots, which are visually spare and use only ambient sound, weren’t planned. They were the unexpected –and unscripted — byproduct of emotions that ran high while shooting previously aired spots in the “No More” campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

In the previous PSAs, which began airing in September, celebrities, as well as current and former NFL players, are seen speaking out against domestic violence. The NFL rolled out the spots during game times amid a number of high-profile cases involving NFL players and domestic violence.

But Hargitay said the celebrity campaign had been in the works since she founded Joyful Heart for sexual assault survivors 10 years ago. It was after joining forces with No More that the campaign got momentum.

Once the celebrity PSAs began airing during NFL broadcasts, Hargitay said, “Players started reaching out, wanting to be involved, wanting to speak out. Some came because they had personally experienced violence and abuse, others because they felt moved to take a lead in bringing change. But their lives — and their souls — had been touched by these issues.”

The first “Speechless” spots featuring current and former NFL players and directed by Hargitay, along with Blair Underwood and Tate Donovan, aired during NFL broadcasts on Thanksgiving Day for more than 92 million viewers.

Next up, the three directors as well as Hargitay’s “SVU” co-stars Chris Meloni and Ice T, Andre Braugher, Hilary Swank, Tim Gunn, Mary J. Blige, Debra Messing and more will appear.

Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro is among them.

He told ABC News that he got involved because the issue of domestic violence is “pretty close to my heart.” When he was 15, Navarro’s mother Connie Navarro was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. John Riccardi spent nearly a decade on the run, until he was finally captured in 1991 after the case was featured on “America’s Most Wanted.” He’s currently serving life without parole in a California prison.

“It was a horrific relationship that ended in tragedy,” Navarro said, adding, “it affected my life greatly.”

“I have first-hand knowledge how these types of situations can escalate. The fact is the realm of the impossible is in fact possible, which is why it’s important for me to get the word out now,” said the 47-year-old rocker, speaking on behalf of Viacommunity, Viacom’s social impact umbrella.

“We are trying to raise awareness so people can get help or even assess their situation,” he said. “The denial is so thick that sometimes it’s hard to get a grasp of one’s self within a conflict. But if someone can see themselves in the campaign, maybe they can reach out for help.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in three women and one in four men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Though Navarro and his fellow celebrities are showing just how hard it is to talk about domestic violence in the new spots, their goal is really to get the conversation started.

“The fact is we are having a conversation,” Navarro said. “I wouldn’t be talking to you about this experience in my life if not for this.”

Added Hargitay, “Most simply put, we want these spots to bring these issues out of the darkness and into the light.”


SVU 16×09- Pattern Seventeen Stills

Don’t expect affable actor Peter Gallagher to soften his role as NYPD Deputy Chief William Dobbs, the intimidating boss who constantly gets under the skin of Sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) on the NBC drama “Law & Order: SVU.”

“Recently I was getting my hair cut for the show, and a lady in the sink next to me turns to me, all full of soap, and says, ‘When are you gonna start being a little nicer to Sergeant Benson?’ ” Gallagher tells The Post, laughing. “And she really meant it! I said, ‘It’s tough love; he wants to see her succeed.’ ”

But Gallagher’s no-nonsense and condescending Dobbs certainly changes the dynamics of a scene — and the show itself — when he steps into camera range.

“I kinda like the fact that he’s a d–k,” jokes Gallagher. “He’s not there to win a popularity contest. He’s there to get the job done.”

Even cast mate Danny Pino, who plays Det. Nick Amaro, appreciates the show’s extra heat.

“He adds a lot of tension,” Pino says of Dobbs. “To have that strong of a character makes it much more precarious.”

Pino gives Gallagher kudos for his portrayal, adding that he has been a fan of Gallagher back to the thick-browed actor’s 1992 performance in “Guys and Dolls” on Broadway.

“I went up to him and said, ‘Dude, my whole freshman year in college I was listening to you and Nathan Lane singing on that cast album,’ ” Pino says of first meeting Gallagher, who he calls a triple threat.

“He can sing. He can dance. He can act,” Pino says. “There’s not much that Peter Gallagher can’t do.”

Gallagher’s decades-long resume props that up.

His turn as beloved Sandy Cohen on the 2003-07 Fox drama “The O.C.” was recognized as one of the greatest TV dads of all time by TV Guide.

“That was awesome; I finally made a list!” says Gallagher, whose film work includes roles on “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” “Titanic” and “American Beauty.”

And in addition to “SVU,” he currently plays former spy boss Arthur Campbell on USA Network’s “Covert Affairs” and will do an arc on the upcoming HBO relationship comedy “Togetherness,” premiering Jan. 11.

A native New Yorker, Gallagher and his wife of 31 years, Paula Harwood, split time between homes in LA and Connecticut. But Gallagher says he’ll get a New York apartment for his upcoming run on the Broadway revival of “On the Twentieth Century,” which also stars Kristin Chenoweth and opens for previews in February.

Gallagher relishes the chance to juggle multiple projects at once.

“It’s just if you stick with it long enough, every once in a while you have fun periods of time like this,” he says. “I’d be very sad if I couldn’t do it all.”


I apologize for the delay in adding these but I’ve just uploaded pictures from the screening of Into the Woods in East Hampton, NY this past weekend.

Into the Woods Screening
November 28, 2014

SVU 16×08- Spousal Privilege

Busy weekend for Mariska! I’ve uploaded pictures of the opening night of the River. I’ve also added over 40 pictures from Penguins of Madagascar which you can view here.

Broadway Opening Night of the River
November 16, 2014

Mariska attended a special screening of Penguins of Madagascar tonight and pictures are in the gallery. Keep checking back as I’ll be adding more as I get them!

Penguins of Madagascar Screening
November 16, 2014

I’ve uploaded pictures of Mariska & Amaya at Disney on Ice Presents Frozen. Check them out below, they’re adorable!

Disney on Ice Presents Frozen
November 15, 2014

If you want to watch the video from Mariska’s speech you can do so below.

SVU 16×08- Spousal Privilege Stills

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