law and order svu mariska hargitay
Mariska Hargitay plays Olivia Benson in "Law & Order: SVU" Season 18. NBC

Is Mariska Hargitay ready to leave “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” after Season 18 concludes? According to the actress, this upcoming installment of the long-running NBC crime drama definitely won’t be the last time fans will see her character Olivia Benson.

Rumors of Hargitay leaving “Law & Order: SVU” have been popping up for a while now, especially after Season 17 when her character Liv was told to leave the Special Victims Unit. Though Liv eventually returned to the SVU, fans were still worried that Hargitay, who is one of the last two remaining original cast members along with Ice-T, would exit the show. However, the actress recently revealed that she has no plans of leaving “Law & Order: SVU” anytime soon.

“I'm still here because it's still challenging and interesting to me. I feel like we keep going deeper and mining out these new places. After 12 years [of doing SVU], I thought, ‘What are we going to do after 12 years?’ It was such an education for me because I had no idea,’” she told TV Guide on the show’s set in New York.

Hargitay almost lost her passion for the show after Chris Meloni’s exit, but former “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Warren Leight reinvigorated her interest when he took over in Season 13. And with Rick Eid now replacing Leight at the helm, she’s excited to see how he will further evolve “Law & Order: SVU.”

“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,” she explained.

When “Law & Order: SVU” Season 18 premieres this week, Benson will still be mourning the loss of Mike Dodds (Andy Karl), who was killed by Gary Munson (Brad Garrett) after she left him alone with the suspect. In addition, Dodds’ father, Chief Dodds (Peter Gallagher), is blaming Benson for the death of his son.

“This is so human and painful and complicated. It informs everything [and is] a very different note. We haven't seen this. We haven't done this,” she told the publication.

Meanwhile, Eid recently dished on the latest season of “Law & Order: SVU” during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. When asked if Olivia and Tucker (Robert John Burke) will get engaged in Season 18, he hinted that they’re considering this storyline for the pair.

“Benson, I think she’s a complicated, smart woman, and ultimately the relationship with Tucker will be a complicated relationship,” he told EW. “They both want this to work out and we will see if it does. It’s two people who have seen a lot in their careers and in their life, and they’re trying to find a common ground and a way to make it work. But it’s just a question of can these two people who’ve seen what they’ve seen, connect in a way that they can ride off into the sunset? We’ll see, we’re going to explore that.”

Find out what happens to Benson and the rest of the team when “Law & Order: SVU” Season 18 premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.