Mariska Hargitay paused a ‘Law & Order: SVU’ shoot to help a lost child who thought she was a real cop

Mariska Hargitay - Mariska Hargitay helps lost child
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For 25 years, Mariska Hargitay has played one of our heroes onscreen: the ferocious Olivia Benson on Law and Order: SVU. But has it been so long that Hargitay is essentially becoming her onscreen persona? That may actually be the case, after reports that she paused filming on an SVU episode to help reunite a lost little girl with her family.

While filming new episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in New York City last week, the reports say that the lost child saw Hargitay’s badge and mistook her for a real police officer and approached her for help. The young girl had been playing in Fort Tryon Park and got separated from her mother, according to a witness who saw the whole thing go down on April 10 and told People magazine about it. The witness said the episode shoot was interrupted for about 20 minutes because of course Hargitay sprung into action to help the little girl—who was oblivious to the fact that there were cameras and crew all around.

Luckily, it didn’t take long to find her mom, and the story had a happy ending when the little girl was reunited with her family. Olivia Benson is a hero, as usual.

Hargitay has been playing the role since 1999, when she was cast in the Law and Order spin-off that is now the longest-running drama in prime-time American television. She and her castmate Ice-T recently celebrated the show’s 25th anniversary with an interview in Entertainment Weekly.

“It’s so different,” she said in the interview, after watching a clip of herself in the show’s very first season. “We’re so young, and it’s got a cute vibe. It’s so sweet and innocent, and I love that. If you gave us that same scene and we did it now, it would be oh so different.”

She added, “But I love looking at the beginning, so we can really sit in appreciation of the evolution of these characters. And the evolution—especially of Olivia Benson, and the maturity, and this woman growing into her power. It’s beautiful.”

She can say that again.