When Today ran the story of eleven-year-old Floridian Alyssa, who fought off a knife-wielding attacker and covered him in slime to create physical evidence, it caught the attention of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay (Chicago P.D., Lake Placid). Alyssa’s mother told Today that her daughter thought to use the slime as evidence because of the many dramatized cases she had seen on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, her favorite show.
Mariska Hargitay responds to girl who used tip from ‘SVU’ to fight off kidnapperhttps://t.co/eDkTsSXdNP
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 20, 2021
“Mom, I had to leave some sort of evidence behind, like on Law & Order: SVU” the quote from Alyssa’s mother continues “we’ve watched probably every episode on Hulu” (TVLine). Alyssa’s strategy proved effective, as the blue slime was later used as evidence to apprehend Jared Paul Stanga, “who was charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault with a weapon and simple battery” (CNN).
When Hargitay, who has played Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for two decades and counting, caught wind of the story she was awestruck. According to CNN, the actress first shared the story on her Instagram page. “Alyssa, first and most important, I am so relieved and grateful to know that you are safe,” the Olivia Benson actress opened her Instagram post “I am so honored to be part of your incredible story. You are one BRAVE, Strong and Smart young woman.”
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Hargitay concluded with “I think the SVU squad might have to add slime to their crimefighting gear” (Instagram). Producer Dick Wolf’s (Law & Order, Chicago Fire) successful procedural universe has often relied on ripped-from-the-headlines storylines, making Alyssa’s story a reversal of that narrative. Perhaps a slime-savvy girl will make an appearance in the series’ future, as it was recently renewed for a twenty-fourth season at NBC.
Though Hargitay’s Instagram post about Alyssa’s story was formatted as an open letter, the star was quickly able to reach out more directly in a later Today interview. The Today producers invited Alyssa on for a follow-up interview to discuss her story in more detail, but then surprised her with a virtual meeting with Hargitay. In the Today segment, Hargitay called Alyssa her “hero,” invited the girl to join her fictional squad and gifted her a signed Law & Order: Special Victims Unit script.
Hargitay was not the only member of the Law & Order team touched by Alyssa’s quick-thinking and bravery. According to TVLine, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner Warren Leight shared the story on Twitter, writing “we are glad Alyssa was able to take care of herself, and that she is safe. We are horrified she had to go through this.”
The universe of Law & Order is ever-expanding, with Christopher Meloni (Happy!) returning as Elliot Stabler in Law & Order: Organized Crime and recently-announced spin-off series Law & Order: For the Defense in development at NBC. While Alyssa’s story had a positive outcome, hopefully fans can continue to enjoy the series – and all its forthcoming iterations – without having to encounter those similar dangers in their daily lives.