Actress Mariska Hargitay is enjoying her role as a cop in TV show LAW + ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, because she now receives favours from real-life police officers.

Since the hit drama aired in the US, Hargitay - who plays Detective Olivia BENSON - has been helped out of a number of sticky personal situations by police in New York and Los Angeles.

She says, "I've been blessed. Being as we say a 'brother in blue', the cops have taken to giving me rides around town. I bang on the car and say, 'Will you give me a ride, I can't get a cab?'"

GOLDEN GLOBE-winning Hargitay even admits her role has helped her to avoid the occasional speeding fine.

One time, the actress and her then-husband-to-be Peter Hermann were pulled over by cops in California while they were trying to save time on finding a wedding venue last summer (04).

But quick-thinking Hargitay used an exclusive 'get-out-of-trouble' card to avoid a hefty fine.

She recalls, "My brothers in blue had given me this little Police Benevolence Association card and it's horrible and I feel so bad about it now."

Instead of a fine, Hargitay and Hermann received a warning.

07/03/2005 09:57