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Why Mariska Hargitay Says Her TV Son, Ryan Buggle, Is “Like a Little Adult”

"He's a great little thinker," Hargitay told NBC Insider.

By Jackie Manno

Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson) and her on-screen adopted son, Noah, played by Ryan Buggle, have the best dynamic both on and off-screen. 

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursday, October 3 at 9/8c on NBC.

In a recent interview with NBC Insider, Hargitay revealed why she loves working with Buggle. 

"He is such a special human being," she said. "He's not like a lot of child actors. He is so good, wise beyond his years, so kind, just wants to learn and grow, and so engaged. Everyone adores him, and he's such a good little actor, so I feel so safe because he's really present and wants to learn. I just adore him because he's also a fascinating person. He's an incredible gymnast, he's a great little thinker, and he asks such good questions, and he's really open for anything. He's like a little adult, but in a good way. I adore him, and I love having scenes with him. Sometimes with little kids, it's like, 'OK, are they gonna get it? Am I gonna have to navigate this?' But with him it's not like that. I look forward to it. And I have real love for him." 

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More about Mariska Hargitay and Ryan Buggle's friendship 

In December 2023, Hargitay and Buggle celebrated the filming of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 25 in the best way. Buggle posted some adorable pictures of himself in his trailer, hyping himself up for filming. 

"25!! Let's go!" Buggle wrote in the caption.

"Be still my benson heart♥️," Hargitay commented. 

(L-R) Chanel Nicole Marrow and Ryan Buggle pose on a red carpet for new york fashion week

RELATED: Mariska Hargitay Looks So Ethereal Making Literal Snow Angels on the Ground

"Working with her is like a dream," Buggle told People about Hargitay. "My favorite part of being on set is definitely creating the friendships that I have, the friends and family."

He continued, "Something recently I learned about acting — from Mariska, actually — is to always act with your heart and come from a real natural place. My favorite thing about her is that whenever we're on set, it's always an acting class. I really love her kindness."

He added, "Mariska definitely knows me, Ryan, because sometimes when we're filming a scene instead of saying 'Noah,' she's like, 'Oh, Ryan.' Then she's like, 'Oh, I messed up!'"

Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

— Reporting by Stephanie Gomulka