Mariska Hargitay says Law and Order: SVU feels like "a different show now" with new showrunners. Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC

After 15 seasons, Law & Order: SVU continues to surprise viewers -- and its stars. During an interview on the TODAY show Wednesday, Jan. 8, Mariska Hargitay told anchor Matt Lauer that the show feels completely new to her.

"I think it's been a journey," the 49-year-old actress explained. "I think the writing changes now that we have new showrunners. It feels to me like a different show now, which I think is a great thing. After 15 years the show feels so unbelievably fresh, and that's a gift."

In the Jan. 8 winter premiere of SVU, Hargitay's character, Det. Olivia Benson, must relive a violent kidnapping as a case against her attacker goes to trial.

"This episode was traumatizing for me just to shoot it, and I deal with these issues every day," Hargitay revealed. "It's about Olivia being a victim that she continually takes care of, so the tables are turned."

Will the trial bring closure to her character?

"I wish there was. It's not that simple, I think," Hargitay told Lauer. "What she went through I don't know that she can recover from. It has changed her. She's still fighting PTSD. Once she thought she got him, he got in there again in a deep and very painful way."