Law and Order: SVU heads into its 18th season. It has gone through numerous changes on and off camera. Yet fans can rest assured Mariska Hargitay is staying for the long run.

Her character Olivia Benson is a staple on the long-running crime drama TV series. Hence, watching Law and Order: SVU without her could be difficult, although likely manageable since the show did move on after Chris Meloni’s departure. Then again, losing another original cast member would be hard to take.

While she might be one of the highest-paid TV actresses, it is only secondary to what the show gives her. Indeed, Mariska Hargitay still considers it a challenge. Moreover, she continues to find it interesting even after more than 10 years. Her connection to the show also paved the way for her charity work with the Joyful Heart Foundation.

Her outlook remains steadfast as the show heads into its 18th season. Even with a new showrunner coming onboard to replace Warren Leight, Mariska expressed excitement for how and where Rick Eid will take the show to new heights.

“I’m newly invigorated and newly excited to have a new vision on the show, and the consistence and excellence of someone who understands it so deeply, and someone who loves us enough to want to join 18 years later. It’s very exciting to me … and it still feels utterly fresh,” TV Guide quoted Mariska Hargitay.

Law and Order: SVU 18 premieres September 21. The season starts after the loss of Sgt. Mike Dodds, which was a shocking twist to the previous season’s finale. Thus, it will be very emotional for Benson and her boss Chief Dodds who happens to be her partner’s father. She will carry the burden of his death as the Chief blames her for it.

However, the death also paves the way for Ice-T’s character to step into the role of her partner. Hence, Law and Order: SVU 18 could get more interesting than ever.