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21 Celebrities You Forgot Were on Law & Order: SVU

From Snoop Dogg to Hilary Duff. 

Official Trailer | A Law & Order Premiere Event | NBC

One of the best parts of watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is catching a familiar face on the screen and wondering, "Is that who I think it is?" Countless talented actors and actresses have made their way to the pages of SVU scripts. Whether they're guest-starring as the villain or as one of the special victims, a celebrity guest star is always a sign of drama on the horizon for the detectives of the SVU. 

With over 500 episodes under its belt dozens, if not hundreds, of SVU guest stars have graced our television screens. Let's look back on some of the celebrities you might have forgotten made their way to the SVU set. 

Robin Williams

Season 9, Episode 17 ("Authority")

One of the most bone-chilling SVU episodes is thanks to the late guest star, comedy king turned horrifying SVU villain, Williams. Williams depicts Merritt Rook, an audio engineer that wants to see society and authority crumble. His performance was chilling as he tortured Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) and coerced his victims into committing atrocious acts. 

Alec Baldwin

Season 15, Episode 18 ("Criminal Stories")

Baldwin made his SVU debut as Jimmy MacArthur, a hot-shop news reporter who causes issues for the SVU while they address a hate crime. Baldwin also wrote "Tabloid" for the original Law & Order, based on his negative experiences with the press. 

Elizabeth Banks

Season 3, Episode 7 ("Sacrifice")

Banks made an appearance in Season 3 of SVU as Jaina Jansen, a mother who turns to a job in the porn industry to be able to afford her daughter's medical bills. 

Bradley Cooper 

Season 6, Episode 20 ("Night")

Before Cooper was starring in hit films like The Hangover or A Star Is Born, he appeared in an episode of SVU as Jason Whitaker, a defense attorney tasked with representing a wealthy client accused of sexually assaulting illegal immigrants. 

Adam Driver

Season 13, Episode 11 ("Theatre Tricks")

While many might recognize Driver as Kylo Ren in the Star Wars franchise, he also had the honor of depicting a slimy stalker who sexually assaults a woman under the guise of it being an interactive theatrical stunt. It's safe to say we prefer Driver in Star Wars,

Hilary Duff

Season 10, Episode 19 ("Selfish")

Duff depicts a panicked mother who buries her daughter after the child contracts measles from an unvaccinated classmate. 

Whoopi Goldberg

Season 17, Episode 4 ("Institutional Fail")

Goldberg took on a darker role as Chelsey Watkins, a foster mother responsible for altering welfare reports that takes advantage of her foster children to coerce them into committing murders and robbing homes. 


Season 7, Episode 18 ("Venom")

In SVU he played Darius Parker, the nephew of Ice-T's son. He goes on trial for the rape and murder of the mother of a 14-year-old boy. 

Amanda Seyfried

Season 6, Episode 5 ("Outcry")

Seyfried delivers a powerful SVU performance as Tandi McCain, a teenage assault victim that the SVU suspects might be groomed by her father to muddle the details of her assault.  

Martin Short

Season 6, Episode 18 ("Pure")

When Short is on screen, you're in for a wild ride, as seen in his guest-starring role as Sebastian Ballentine on SVU. Sebastian is a psychic who attempts to lend his services to the SVU but shockingly ends up being the culprit by the episode's conclusion. 

Martha Stewart

Season 13, Episode 21 ("Learning Curve")

Stewart shines in her SVU performance as Eleanor Hastings, a private school headmistress that defends one of her school teachers accused of sexually abusing a student.

Sarah Paulson

Season 11, Episode 12 ("Shadow")

Fun fact: Paulson's first on-screen acting gig was on the original Law & Order, with her returning to her beginnings in SVU Season 11. Paulson plays Anne Gillette, the daughter of affluent parents who are cryptically killed. Anne attempts to derail the SVU from discovering her involvement in her parents' murder.

Laverne Cox

Season 9, Episode 16 ("Closet")

Like Paulson, Cox got her first acting roles in SVU and the flagship Law & Order. During her episode, Cox tackles the complex stigmas and harassment surrounding homosexual couples after they're inappropriately outed. 

Serena Williams

Season 5, Episode 12 ("Brotherhood")

Williams stars as Chloe Spiers, an unsuspecting target of a revenge porn website. If that wasn't tense enough, the website ends up being a larger-scale issue involving murder and an insidious fraternity responsible for the crimes. 

Snoop Dogg

Season 20, Episode 22 ("Diss")

Snoop Dogg depicted R.B Banks, a recording Artist who gets wrapped into a predicament involving a rival rapper and an assault case. 

Ian Somerhalder

Season 4, Episode 20 ("Dominance")

Before his widespread popularity on The Vampire Diaries and Lost, Somerhalder made SVU squirm as Charlie Barker, a murderer who coerces his brother into killing couples, as well as personally killing four others. 

Cynthia Nixon

Season 9, Episode 1 ("Alternate")

Nixon deviated far from her Sex and the City roots in "Alternate," an SVU episode where she plays Janis Donovan, a mother who is wrongly accused of child abuse. It turns out that her daughter faked a mental illness to cover up her own murder, but Benson sniffs out the real bad guy in the end. And just like that...we have a nail-biting SVU episode. 

John Stamos

Season 12, Episode 22 ("Bang")

Everyone loves Jesse from Full House, but John Stamos takes on a much darker role as a reproductive abuser in SVU. Stamos impregnates numerous women, resulting in his grueling end after a victim discovers the truth.

Milo Ventimiglia

Season 5, Episode 11 ("Escape")

While This Is Us fans might clock Ventimiglia for his heartwarming role as patriarch Jack, a much younger Ventimiglia starred in SVU in 2003 as the survivor of a child molester. 

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Season 12, Episode 3 ("Behave")

"Behave" tackles the issue of recurring sexual abuse, and Hewitt nails her performance as Vicki Sayers. The SVU handles Vicki's case as she reveals to the detectives that she has been sexually assaulted by the same man four times across the span of 15 years. 

Pedro Pascal

Season 12, Episode 24 ("Smoked")

Before our favorite Mandalorian and Game of Thrones star rose to fame, Pascal was a Law & Order franchise veteran, guest-starring in the OG series, Criminal Intent, and SVU. He depicts FBI Special Agent Greer in the SVU Season 12 finale, delivering a flawless performance.

Law & Order: SVU Season 24 returns to NBC this fall. Watch episodes on Peacock now

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