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Benson's mother Serena (Elizabeth Ashley), an English professor, was an alcoholic who emotionally and physically abused Olivia.
In the season 2 episode "Taken", Serena Benson dies falling down a flight of subway stairs outside the entrance to a bar.
The character first appeared in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit pilot episode, "Payback", which aired September 20, 1999.
Wolf conceived Benson as a detective in the Manhattan Special Victims Unit, which investigates sex crimes.
Benson's life is further complicated when she is named the legal guardian of a young boy named Calvin Arliss (Charlie Tahan).
Calvin's mother, Vivian (Maria Bello), abandons him and flees when Benson's investigation uncovers that Vivian (also a child of rape) may have killed her mother's rapist. Calvin lives with her for a while, until she finds Vivian and her lover Sara have relapsed into drug use.
Both Calvin and Benson are devastated by the separation.
In the season 13 episode "Child's Welfare", Simon reveals to Benson that she has a niece and a step-nephew named Olivia and Ty, and that he is planning to marry a woman named Tracy.