Let’s play a fun game called spot Law & Order SVU characters in other roles. Before they landed on the popular show, cast regulars already had quite a body of work between them. In some cases, Law & Order: SVU actors have popped up in some fun, random, and strange places. From daytime soaps to many an ABC Afterschool Special, The SVU cast has made the rounds in Hollywood.
We may know Ice-T as Fin Tutuola, but New Jack City and Tank Girl fans also know him from his work in Johnny Mnemonic, a strange 1990s imagining of the future starring Keanu Reeves. The next time you watch Leaving Las Vegas, look out for Mariska Hargitay as a hooker. Yep, there she is, performing with a really depressed Nic Cage. Christopher Meloni may be known for his serious acting chops, but the actor is not afraid to slip into some gross prosthetics and play a character called Freakshow in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
Where have you seen Law & Order actors in other roles? Let’s take a look at the many times you seen these actors somewhere else and investigate the standouts.
SVU Role: Fin Tutuola
Sure, there’s New Jack City and Tank Girl, but do you remember Ice in Johnny Mnemonic – a film that was shot in the ’80s, imagining the future starring Keanu Reeves? #NeverForget
SVU Role: Olivia Benson
Before her runs on ER and Falcon Crest, roles in Lake Placid and on the regular Law & Order, Hargitay had a part as a hooker in 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas. Even the daughter of a Hollywood legend (her mother is Jayne Mansfield) has to start somewhere.
Belzer began his career as an actor and standup back in the late ‘70s. He was on the first season of Saturday Night Live, did standup at every major hot venue, played an MC in Scarface, and delighted his fans with a pop-up appearance on The X-Files as Det. John Munch who thwarts The Lone Gunmen. But you’ll definitely want to check out Belzer in Night Shift in 1982.
Most of the time, we’re treated to the sexy body of Meloni and his deadly serious characters in Oz, NYPD Blue, and Homicide. But Meloni has been known to delve into the silly, absurd, and bombastic.Take for instance his appearances in Dirty Movie as the Producer and Director, the appliance-humping Gene in Wet Hot American Summer, the leader of the Vampire Authority Roman Zimojic in True Blood, and the Clerk in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But the comedy show stopper was his part as Freakshow in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
Before SVU fans knew her as Dr. Warner, Tunie put in some serious time on As the World Turns as Jessica Griffin.
SVU Role: Amanda Rollins
Before she landed a role on The Good Wife and day played on Chicago P.D., Giddish was Di Henry on the soap All My Children.
SVU Role: Diane Neal
Since her role as Casey Novak on SVU, Neal has moved on to other popular series such as Suits, NCIS,NCIS: New Orleans, and Blue Bloods. But did you know that Neal also had a role in National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie along with Christopher Meloni?
March played Alex Cabot for two years on SVU. But before we knew her on the show, she played Nikki in the Chris Rock film Head of State.
Fans will also know Pino from Cold Case. His seven-year run on the show as Scotty Valens is a standout of his career. But you should also be sure to check him out on The Shield as Armadillo Quintero.
Hardworking Esparza put in time playing Dr. Chillton on Hannibal while also playing Rafel Barba on SVU. But his performance as Alfredo Aldarisio on the criminally underrated Pushing Daisies should also be remembered.
Doyle has balanced his career with a healthy dose of film and TV projects. He was in Rabbit Hole and Green Lantern, and appeared with B.D. Wong back in 1994 on the ABC Afterschool Special “Magical Make-Over,” as Malcolm to Wong’s Johnny Angel. Another of his early standout roles was Adam Guenzel on Oz.
SVU Role: TARU Tech Ruben Morales
De la Fuente has done well since his days at Morales. He’s had roles on popular shows Hemlock Grove andThe Man in the High Castle. Prior to SVU, he played a character called Seamus Wong on All My Children, and he even played Quan Kim Thanh in “Summer Stories: The Mall, Parts 1, 2, and 3,” an installment of ABC Afterschool Special. True SVUers, however, will remember his role as Lt. Paul Wang in Space: Above and Beyond in the ‘90s.
Merlin’s work boasts 1984’s The Killing Fields and 1998’s City of Angels, but the coolest fun fact is that she made her acting debut in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments in 1956.
Caren Browning – Law & Order
Before she was Judith Siper on SVU, Browning was in a single 2000 episode of Law & Order, as Anne Kearsey.
Gillies has been on SVU since 1999, but her very first role was in the now iconic 1990 film Metropolitan, as Cynthia McLean.
Hermann is familiar to A Gifted Man, Blue Bloods, and Younger fans, but Guiding Light fans will always remember him as Dr. Michael Burke.
Winters is widely known for many of his roles such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s the Vulture, 30 Rock’s awful and hilarious Dennis, Rescue Me’s Johnny Gavin, and Oz’s O’Reily. But before he was any of those guys, he was John McFadden in a memorable episode of Sex and the City, “The F*ck Buddy.” His part was exactly that to Carrie.
You may already know this, especially if you are a Michelle Hurd fan. She played Rachel Gray on 90201 for two years during the revamp, Laurel on Gossip Girl, Courtney Brown on ER, Jacklyn Dussault on Devious Maids, Colleen Manus on The Glades, and Renee Grover on Hawaii Five-O. However, one of her best roles was as Katya on Charmed.
The accomplished actress helped blow up the small screen with her condo-dwelling Shelly Pfefferman in Transparent, but Who’s the Boss? fans remember her best as Angela Bower. Light also got her start on the soaps – playing Karen Wolek on One Life to Live.
Burke has been everywhere. He’s got 80+ credits to his name, appearing on Generation Kill, Sex and the City, Oz, Rescue Me, Gossip Girl, Army Wives, Person of Interest as well as in 2Guns and Limitless. But an early role in Tombstone showcased his rugged Western side.
Just before she hopped on SVU, McManus was a regular on One Tree Hill.
Before joining the SVU cast in 1999, Eisenberg was part of the Law & Order cast from 1997 to 2009 as James Granick. But before he was part of the L&O world, he was a Miami Vice guy back in the ‘80s, playing several different characters.
He was great in Windtalkers, Flags of Our Fathers, and Big Love, but Beach caught the eye of many producers and casting directors as Victor Joseph in Smoke Signals.