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Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
For anyone who thought Hargitay's Emmy-worthy days were behind her, the performance she gives in this season's opener may just put her back in the running. Watching the scenes of Benson being tied up, brutally attacked and forced to drink just vodka at the hands of Pablo Schreiber's The Beast are not just cringe-worthy, but actually painful to look at. In the end, Hargitay doesn't just show off her acting chops, but how physically demanding of an arc she can take on.