Stephanie March Reveals How a ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Storyline Ignited Her Real-Life Passion

The actress is perhaps best known for her recurring role as Assistant District Attorney Alex Cabot on NBC’s ‘Law & Order: SVU,’ a character she portrayed in over 100 episodes spanning eight years. This role not only cemented her place in the hearts of viewers but also ignited a profound passion within her. A pivotal episode that resonated deeply with March is ‘Witness’.

In this episode, Cabot leaves her position in New York City for the Democratic Republic of Congo after a particularly challenging case convinces her of the urgent need to help women and girls being sexually exploited in Africa. This storyline struck a chord with March and continues to inspire her to this day.

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Stephanie March Law & Order
Image Courtesy: People

“I felt like my passion really was to advocate for women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence, and how sexual violence deprives us of our body autonomy and often our legal rights and our right to work,” March shares. Her commitment to this cause is evident through her role on the board of the Panzi Foundation, where she actively works to support survivors of s*xual violence.

Reflecting on her journey with ‘SVU’, March recalls landing the role in 2000. Cabot was a series regular from seasons 2 through 5, and March continued to reprise the role through 2018. She humorously suggests that the show might have “some sort of future-telling or time-travelling device in there —’ SVU the Oracle’!” However, she acknowledges the significant impact the show had on her life and perspective.

“When I got the job, I didn’t initially intend for it to have such a profound effect on me, but once I was in it, the subject matter was disturbing and compelling. It wasn’t something I could just leave behind when I came home at night,” March explains. The show’s themes and cases prompted her to become deliberate about how she wanted to use her platform and voice to make a difference.

March has since dedicated herself to advocating for women’s rights and supporting survivors of sexual violence. “I have been lucky enough to find a few places where those interests intersect, and I’m very passionate about it,” she adds. This commitment extends beyond her on-screen persona to real-life activism, driven by her experiences and the stories she encountered on ‘SVU’.

-Sushmita Sarkar