Kid Mistakes SVU Star for Real Cop, Gets Real Help

Mariska Hargitay stops filming to help reunite lost girl with mom
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2024 9:15 AM CDT
Mistaken for Real Cop, SVU Star Rises to the Occasion
Mariska Hargitay attends the Women's Media Awards, hosted by the Women's Media Center, at The Whitby Hotel on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in New York.   (Photo by CJ Rivera/Invision/AP)

At their best, actors transform into the characters they play—in the case of Mariska Hargitay, even when the cameras aren't rolling. The star of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit must've gotten quite a confidence boost while filming one of the final episodes in the series' 25th season out in public in New York City on April 10, when a young girl mistook her for an actual police officer. The 5-year-old approached 60-year-old Hargitay, who was wearing a badge, complaining that she'd gotten separated from her mother at the Fort Tryon Playground. Hargitay not only listened but paused production for 20 minutes as she helped the girl find her mother, a witness tells People, which has photos of the initial encounter and reunion. Hargitay reportedly then consoled them both.

To lend a hand was second nature for Hargitay, who told People in January that she often finds herself sliding into the character of NYPD detective Olivia Benson, whom she's portrayed for 25 years. There are "moments where I've sort of slipped into her," Hargitay said. "If there's a crisis, I just take over and lead like that. Being strong and fearless." The report went viral on social media, per the New York Post, which quotes some of the responses. "This is why I love her so much. She's a real life hero," one fan wrote. Law & Order: SVU, already the longest-running primetime live-action series in TV history, was renewed for a historic 26th season in March. (Hargitay recently spoke out about being the victim of a crime herself.)

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