Arresting Officer

updated 11/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

When the opportunity presented itself to have a one-night stand with Jude Law, "every woman in Hollywood wanted to do it," says Nia Long. She got lucky. Cast as an object of lothario Law's affection in Alfie, Long racks up the movie's steamiest scene as a game of pool with the charming playboy turns horizontal. Alas, her character already has a love interest—Alfie's best friend. Long isn't so easily seduced. "There are Alfies out there," she says, but "I'm at a place in my life where I know what I want on all fronts."

And she's getting it. In addition to Alfie, Long, 34, has regular gigs as a cop on NBC's Third Watch and a single mother to her son Massai, 3, a whiz at soccer and scrubbing sinks too. Says his mom: "I'm anal about having a clean house." Not to mention a solid home. Herself raised by a single mom, artist Talita, amid the gang violence of South Central L.A. (the subject of her first major film, 1991's Boyz N the Hood), Long was taught by her family that "you don't have to become your environment" After turns in movies such as Boiler Room and Big Momma's House, her environment in Manhattan suits her fine. Massai is close to his father, Long's former fiancé Massai Dorsey, 33, a businessman. "He's a great dad," says Long, who's now unattached. And "the security I have with my Third Watch family is priceless." If only so many scenes weren't shot outside in the patrol car. Says Long with a laugh: "The New York winter kills me."

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