• Mariska Hargitay is best known from Law & Order: SVU today
  • Originally, she started acting in TV series of the 1980s
  • The "Olivia Benson" actress once starred in an iconic soap opera

Actress Mariska Hargitay has starred on Law & Order: SVU for what seems like forever now.

But if you can believe it, there was a time when the TV legend was a little-known actress hoping to make it in Hollywood.

The daughter of actors Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield, Mariska got her start in the entertainment business in the mid-1980s.

Mariska Hargitay was a soap opera star in younger days

One of her very first parts was on a legendary soap opera. Yes, Mariska Hargitay was on Falcon Crest back in the day! She was in her early 20s at the time.

From 1987 to 1988, Hargitay appeared in over a dozen episodes of Falcon Crest. She played "Carly Fixx," the half-sister of "Dan Fixx" (Brett Cullen). See pictures in the video above!

Also interesting:

Afterward, Hargitay continued to appear around film and television of the 1990s. She also had roles on ER and Can't Hurry Love shortly before landing her signature role as "Olivia Benson" on SVU.

The Law & Order spin-off premiered in 1999. In over 20 years since, Mariska Hargitay has become one of the most popular stars on TV.

The one-time guest actress on Falcon Crest has come a long way...

See photos and more in the video above!