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Mariska Hargitay Discusses the “Magic” of Working With Robin Williams

Photo Credit: James Devaney / WireImage / Getty Images
Photo Credit: James Devaney / WireImage / Getty Images

A clip on TikTok featuring an interview with Mariska Hargitay is circulating the internet. In it, she explains what it was like to work with the late Robin Williams. He joined the set of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, where Hargitay described his presence as nothing short of “magic.” Unsurprisingly, she said he had this way of making everyone “feel so special.”

He was a guest on Law & Order

Robin Williams running.
Robin Williams joined the cast of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.’ (Photo Credit: NBC / murraymomo / MovieStillsDB)

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit first aired on television in 1999, running for 25 seasons with plans to continue for a 26th as of 2024. It stars Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni as detectives of the Special Victims Unit in the New York Police Department who investigate and prosecute sexually based crimes. With 551 original episodes, the show has been a powerhouse in fictionalized crime television and has seen its fair share of guest stars, including Robin Williams.

Williams joined the cast of the show during its ninth season, starring in an episode titled “Authority.” In the show, he appeared as an anti-authoritarian vigilante. While his character may have been on the darker side, Hargitay recalls the profound sense of “magic” he brought to the set. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she shared her experience working with the actor.

Working with him was an incredible experience

Robin Williams sitting at a table.
Mariska Hargitay says working with Williams was “magic.” (Photo Credit: NBC / jeffw616 / MovieStillsDB)

Watching him while he was working was an experience in and of itself, Hargitay explained. “To watch flow happening — that which is invisible — he was the personification of it,” she said. “He was magnificent. Different every time, funny every time, and truthful and believable.”

She remembers thinking to herself while on set, “And what is happening? How am I so lucky that I get to witness it? It was magic.” Everything was electric with him. Like there was no line between sort of acting and who he was as a person,” she explained. “And the most fun person and the most generous, and it was pure joy.”

He was great with her son

Robin Williams beside a chair with his name on it.
He was great to those on and off camera. (Photo Credit: NBC / jeffw616 / MovieStillsDB)

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Not only was he a joy to work with on set, but Hargitay explained that Williams’ “magic” extended to those not part of the cast and crew. This included her eldest son, August Miklos Friedrich Hermann, who was about two or three at the time of meeting Williams. “Robin grabbed him and picked him up and so kind and doing voices for him,” she recalled. “He made all of us feel so special.”

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“And you’re just in this moment going, ‘I’m pinching myself that I get to live in the same time with somebody so magnetic and so magic and so generous’ that you go, ‘I’m just different because we got to breathe, same oxygen,'” she said. “It was pretty great.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!