Big Stars You Forgot Starred in an Episode of Law & Order: SVU

Law and order it’s one of those television phenomena that’s been around for so long and spawned so many sequels and spin-offs that it’s virtually impossible for anyone who owns a TV not to have encountered it somehow. Starting with the original Law and order in 1990, these procedural crime stories about the world of law enforcement and the justice department were the foundation for an impressive number of episodes across seven shows and over three decades. Its flawless pacing and heartwarming reinforcement of audiences’ desire to see good triumph over evil in a recognizable world has ensured this is a franchise that will continue to exist for years and years to come.

Any television series that’s been around for this long will require the work of an impressive amount of talented actors to help keep the whole enterprise going. This means that, for many up-and-coming actors, working on such a highly regarded series could be exactly what they’ve been looking for. It turns out that one of the oldest (per USA Today) series in canon Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (aka SVU) not only featured the first appearances of future stars, but also as guests of big names looking to join the Law and order universe. With that in mind, we’re taking a look at seven big stars who’ve appeared in SVU that you may have forgotten.

7 Zoe Saldana

Zoë Yadira Saldaña-Perego in Law & Order: SVU

Before Zoe Saldana saw massive success in three of the biggest science fiction franchises of all time (Star Trek, Avatar, and the MCU via Guardians of the Galaxy), she was paying her dues as an actress by working in small roles in various television shows and movies. She was really featured in Law and order universe twice, but we’ll focus on his second appearance, as the role is more significant. in 2004 SVU In the episode “Criminal”, Saldaña plays the protective daughter of a criminology professor with a criminal past. The episode tackles police bias bluntly, leaving one of the lead actors (Captain Cragen, played by Don Florek) so blinded by his hatred of this former criminal that he ignores the evidence right in front of his face.

Though her scenes are few, Saldaña excels at establishing her character’s justifiable attitude toward law enforcement with every facial expression and word she says. Likewise, we feel how difficult it is for her to ask them for help when her father goes off the deep end after his wrongful conviction for murdering the woman he loved. It’s a relatively minor role that she imbues with real power.

Related: Ice-T Addresses His Future as Fin on Law & Order: SVU

6 Sarah Paulson

law and order-svu-sarah-paulson

According to its IMDb, the Law and order episode “Family Values” is Sarah Paulsonis her first on-screen acting credit. In the episode, she plays a 17-year-old girl suspected of murdering her mother. The episode showcases the talent she would spend decades honing, resulting in her current status as an acting icon. In 2010, she returned to the franchise in the SVU Season 11 episode “Shadow”. This time, she plays a woman who actually murdered her mother (and father) to ensure she wasn’t cut out of the will.

This time Paulson is able to play around with things a bit and nibble on the scenery. He never doubts that she killed her parents and the fun is watching her barely disguise that fact before exploding, revealing the rage simmering beneath the surface. She’s not a particularly funny character, but there’s an over the top twinkle in Paulson’s eye that’s fun to watch – even if the rest of the episode isn’t great.

5 Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper on Law & Order: SVU

Although he is the current name associated with the SVU season 6 episode “Night,” Bradley Cooper is just one of four famous faces to appear in this dark and violent story. While investigating a series of unsolved rapes, Stabler and Benson encounter a woman who is defending undocumented women. She is played by Rita Moreno, who you probably remember as Anita in the first film adaptation of west side history. They trace some fingerprints to a powerful but vile lawyer, played by Cooper.

You hate him from the minute he appears on screen. Not only is he smug, but he seems to enjoy touting his understanding of the law on people, as if that justifies his despicable behavior. His client (who is identified as a rapist) is played by Doctor Otto Octavius ​​himself, Alfred Molina, again playing a genius with a dark side. Perhaps the episode’s most amazing and unexpected guest is a certain Angela Lansbury. Instead of solving the murder, as he would in Murder she wroteshe is a cold and cruel woman who is trying to protect her criminal son from facing criminal charges.

4 robin williams

Robin Williams on Law & Order: SVU

For those who expected to see robin williams play the Joker in a bat Man movie, the 9th season episode of SVU (entitled “Authority”) is as close as you will get. He plays a man with a personal vendetta against all those in authority, thanks to his trust in a doctor who allowed his pregnant wife to die. While he doesn’t inflict the kind of chaos that the Clown Prince of Crime would, he does come pretty close to inspiring the masses to rise up against their employers and the status quo in an attempt to wake them from their cattle existence.

He defends himself in court after convincing a fast food manager to sexually abuse an employee (and wins), organizes a pillow fight on the courthouse steps, disguises his voice to create fake alibis, and even has a secret lair. As dramatic and hard to take seriously as his antics (the comic book tone doesn’t suit SVU, and as perfunctory as the episode’s arguments are, Williams never falters in her performance. We completely buy into him as a real man who allowed tragedy to corrupt and distort him in terrible ways.

Related: Law & Order: SVU Airs ‘Munch-a-thon’ in Tribute to Richard Belzer

3 Stan Sebastian

Sebastian Stan on Law & Order: SVU

season 13 Law and order the episode “Sheltered” has some issues. On the one hand, it is about punishing the author of multiple public shootings that resulted in four deaths. On the other hand, he is a teenager separated from his family and raised by a stranger who refused to let him have a social life, making him totally codependent. This moral conundrum is an interesting one, but McCoy’s grim belief that the shooter was in full control of his mental faculties (when he clearly wasn’t) muddies the waters a bit. What shines through this dark conflict, however, is Stan Sebastianperformance of the adolescent in question. The then-upcoming Marvel star was balancing some intense emotions, and he does so with absolute fearlessness. Ty Burrell (a bonus mention for this list) is also pretty good as the man who corrupted this poor kid. It’s clear why the two actors gained so much notoriety.

two serena williams

law and order-svu-serena-williams

Of all the stars on this list, the inclusion of serena williams it is perhaps the hardest. His role in the Season 5 episode “Brotherhood” it’s really a cameo at best. However, she is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, and “actress” is not the first thing that comes to mind when she is mentioned. So she’s definitely a huge star that you probably forgot you were. Law and Order: SVU.

The episode is about ritualistic sexual abuse at the hands of a college fraternity and how institutions have a way of protecting the guilty, no matter how terrible their crimes. Williams plays Chloe Spiers, a college basketball star who was one of many young women who were exploited by a frat brother, who filmed himself having sex with them and distributed the videos online. Her character doesn’t stay on screen for long, but she fulfills the crucial plot function of providing the detectives with key information that brings them closer to finding the killer.

1 martin short

Martin Short on Law & Order: SVU

Honestly, the only conceivable way to forget about it martin short was in such a horrible episode of SVU as “pure” is if you’ve never seen or heard of Martin Short (which seems unlikely). The episode sees the titular Unit trying to find a missing young woman and constantly being thwarted by a psychic proposal. played by Short. He appears to have supernatural knowledge of not only the kidnapping, but the detectives as well. He has them running in circles as he tries to conduct his investigation effectively and figure out what exactly his angle is.

As a viewer, we find this out early on, but the suspense builds as we wonder if the detectives will pull it all together in time to save the woman. Everything gets really dark when the truth about Short’s character and motivations is revealed. Short is truly disturbing in the role of this utterly vile human being, with beliefs that horribly mirror much of the toxic male rhetoric circulating the Internet in real life. Let this episode serve as a reminder of how disgusting and dangerous it is to presume that you are entitled to something simply because of your distorted views of what it means to belong to the male gender.

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