Mariska Hargitay, Dressed in Her SVU Gear, Mistaken for Real-Life Police Officer By Young Girl Looking for Her Mom

The actress was filming one of the final episodes of the show’s historic 25th season in New York City when she was approached by the child

Mariska Hargitay doesn’t just star as a heroic detective saving people’s lives onscreen — she also steps into those shoes in real life, too.

While filming one of the final episodes of season 25 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in New York City on April 10, Hargitay, 60, was approached by a little girl who believed her to be a real police officer based on the badge she wore as part of her character’s outfit.

A witness tells PEOPLE that the little girl had been separated from her mother in the Anne Loftus Playground in Fort Tryon Park and enlisted Hargitay for help. The actress obliged, halting production for 20 minutes to help the child locate her mother and to console them both.

The little girl was completely oblivious to the film crew — and to Hargitay’s scene partner, Ice-T — the witness notes, as she believed Hargitay to be an on-duty police officer.

Mariska Hargitay Says It ‘Feels So Good’ to Reunite with Kelli Giddish on Law & Order: SVU: ‘Dynamic Duo’

Olivia Benson, became the longest-running character on a prime-time drama series. The show also became the longest-running drama series in TV history.

“We’ve been on a parallel journey,” she said. “There’s a thing: WWOBD, ‘What would Olivia Benson do?’ The fans would always talk about it, and one day it hit me. I also have those moments where I’ve sort of slipped into her. If there’s a crisis, I just take over and lead like that. Being strong and fearless. It’s sort of this perfect feminist story.”

Reflecting on the remarkable quarter-century run, she said, “I have two diametrically opposed answers. One is: I can’t believe it’s been 25 years, a quarter of a century! And the other is, I can’t see it any other way. I can’t imagine the show ending, and can’t imagine not going on this journey with my cast, my crew.”

Hargitay continued, “I have so much to look forward to. And I’m still growing. I like that you can be so many things at one time. It’s learning to give yourself permission to be all of yourself.”

Cute Photos of the Law & Order: SVU Cast Hanging On and Off the Set
In March, before filming for season 25 had even finished, the show was renewed for a record-breaking 26th season, topping the previous record set for the longest-running primetime live-action series in history.

Ice-T, who joined the show as Detective Fin Tutuola in its second season, previously told PEOPLE that the series ironically transformed from “a four-episode stint” into a 25-year journey for him, earning him the title of the longest-running male actor on television.

“I think SVU is a special show because it’s the first time I’ve ever done something where people walk up in the street and say thank you,” he said. “And I found out that SVU is as much entertainment as it is therapy for a lot of women because a lot of women that watch the show are survivors — guys too. So it has a different feeling versus just normal entertainment.”

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