Mariska Hargitay Stops Law And Order Shoot To Help Lost Child

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

When you’re a kid, one of the first things your parents teach you to do is find a trusted adult, like a teacher or a cop, if you ever get lost. But they don’t teach you how to tell the difference between real cops and actors who play cops on TV, which is how a lost child ended up asking Mariska Hargitay, who plays Capt. Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, for help finding her mom.

Filming In Manhattan’s Fort Tyron Park

After spotting Mariska Hargitay’s badge, the lost child assumed the actress was a real cop. The 60-year-old actress was filming a scene in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan and had to stop production to help the poor child find her parents.

According to a witness, the shoot was paused for 20 minutes while Mariska Hargitay helped the girl find her mother in Fort Tryon Park. It turns out that the actress truly embodies Capt. Olivia Benson, both on and off the screen.

Cameras, crew, and cast (including Mariska Hargitay’s scene partner, Ice-T) all had to wait for the actress to come back to set after finishing her good deed of the day. Luckily, it didn’t take long and in less than a half hour, the lost child was back with her mom.

Over 2 Decades Playing A Cop

On the air since 1999, SVU, a spin-off of Law & Order, has become the longest-running drama in prime-time American television. Mariska Hargitay has been playing Capt. Olivia Benson since the beginning, her first appearance occurring in Season 1, Episode 1, “Playback,” which aired September 20, 1999. Hargitay has been Emmy-nominated for her role on numerous occasions and has won once (she has a second Emmy from the documentary I Am Evidence, which she produced).

The Evolution Of Olivia Benson

Created by Dick Wolf for NBC, SVU is the initial spin-off from the original Law & Order. It initially featured Christopher Meloni portraying Detective Elliot Stabler until his departure in 2011 after twelve seasons. Mariska Hargitay plays Detective Olivia Benson, who later rises to the rank of Captain and assumes command of the Special Victims Unit, having started as Stabler’s partner within a fictional rendition of the New York City Police Department. Meloni later returned to reprise his role as Stabler in the spin-off series Law & Order: Organized Crime, which premiered in 2021.

Ripped From The Headlines

Adhering to the narrative style of its predecessor, SVU occasionally draws inspiration from real life, having Mariska Hargitay’s character solve cases similar to ones that garnered significant media attention. Following the airing of its twenty-first season in September 2019, SVU became the longest-running primetime live-action series in American television history.

Longest Running Live-Action Primetime Series

mariska hargitay law & order

Since the conclusion of the original Law & Order series in 2010, SVU remains the sole live-action primetime series from the 1990s to maintain continuous production. As of March 21, 2024, SVU has broadcasted 546 original episodes (Mariska Hargitay appearing in every single one), surpassing the episode count of its predecessor. It currently ranks fourth in terms of all-time episode count for a primetime scripted series, trailing behind The Simpsons, Gunsmoke, and Lassie.

Catch Mariska Hargitay in the latest season of Law & Order: SVU, airing every Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.