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Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and her captor William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber)in the Season 15 premiere of "Law & Order: SVU."

By Deb Saine
For SpoilerTV.com

Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) has witnessed the worst and the best that humanity has had to offer over the course of her 14 seasons with the Special Victims Unit.

But will the culmination of all those experiences be enough to help her survive the most traumatic ordeal of her life when Season 15 premieres with “Surrender Benson” at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, Sept. 25, on NBC?

In last season’s finale, “Her Negotiation,” viewers watched as Benson stepped into her apartment after being ordered by Capt. Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) to take a couple of days off. Within seconds, one of the most – if not the most – vicious serial rapists and murderers to be portrayed on the series has a gun pointed at the detective’s head.

Previews in recent weeks of the premiere have shown a sweaty, restrained Benson sporting a nasty left black-eye with her mouth covered in duct tape being taunted by her captor William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber).

Viewers who watched last season’s finale only saw glimpses of Lewis’ brutality. But they saw enough to know what this monster is capable of and to know that after raping and torturing his victims for hours, he kills them.

Benson reminds Lewis that she’s an NYPD detective and that while he thinks he’s put people through hell, it will be nothing like the hell she and her entire department will put him through. “It will rain back on you,” she says.

Unfortunately, her threat doesn’t faze him.

Throughout her career, Benson has tracked countless sick-and-twisted sex offenders, putting more of them behind bars than not. But she’s also seen the system fail, as it has countless times with Lewis. She’s comforted innumerable victims of sex crimes. But she knows those victims never forget the trauma and many never recover.

Now the question is, will Benson?

Showrunner and executive producer Warren Leight told Huffingtonpost.com that he co-wrote the episode with the goal of jolting the audience. But the verb might not be strong enough as he seamlessly puts viewers in Benson’s chair as a victim and takes them through one intense scene after another, each one more horrific than the one before.

As for Hargitay, she told Huffingtonpost.com that the premiere episode is “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

And the audience? This hour of television could be the most difficult hour they’ve watched.

Deb Saine
Totally right brained and in love with all of the arts.

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