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What Happened to Leslie Odom, Jr.'s Reverend Curtis Scott on Law & Order: SVU?

2024 Tony nominee Odom has appeared in three seasons and seven episodes as a SVU standout.

By Jessica White

Leslie Odom, Jr. has portrayed numerous roles on Broadway, but he was happy to achieve the age-old milestone for any certified New York actor: a role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

How to Watch

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

Unsurprisingly, Odom turned in a powerhouse performance in a role written specifically for the Tony winner. "It’s a flagship show in New York City. You can’t really call yourself a New York actor until you’ve done at least one SVU," Odom told The Source in 2015. "So I was thrilled when I got the call to do it. Initially, [former SVU showrunner] Warren [Leight] created the part with me in mind, but then you get there, and you never know what kind of chemistry you’re going to have with the regular cast and the crew. And I got there, and it was just a really good fit."

In honor of his 2024 Tony nomination, we're looking back at Odom's standout performances from Law & Order: SVU as Reverend Curtis Scott.

Leslie Odom Jr on Law and Order SVU Episode 1511

Who did Leslie Odom, Jr. play on Law & Order: SVU?

Odom played Reverend Curtis Scott, an New York priest who crossed paths with the SVU during several investigations. Appearing in seven episodes from 2013 to 2015, Scott usually appeared during cases centered around the unfair treatment of minorities. He is a passionate civil rights activist who employs his vast network of media connections to become a loudspeaker for the unheard. Throughout his appearances, Scott was ceaselessly tenacious — even during cases where he didn't have all the information or trusted the wrong people.

"The Reverend likes to show up and cause a little bit of trouble," Odom told The Source. "He’s a catfish. He likes to show up and prod the police department, and prod city officials to take action really in matters of race relations in the city. I have a whole lot of fun with it. I’m so happy whenever they invite me back."

Scott was first introduced in Season 15, Episode 3 ("American Tragedy") after an unarmed Black teenager named Mehcad Carter (Moise Morancy) was shot and killed by celebrity chef Jolene Castille (Cybill Shepherd) when she incorrectly believed he fit the description of an at-large rapist. Scott visited the Carter family at the hospital and took an interest in defending the teenager's posthumous reputation and assisting the family in raising awareness for the cause. Once the actual rapist was revealed and Jolene was exposed as a trigger-happy racist, Scott attended her murder trial to speak as a character witness for Mehcad in hopes of seeing the celebrity go behind bars.

The trial was messy as Jolene insisted she was acting in self-defense and denied any racist claims. Scott was irritated by Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza) for feeling that the ADA hadn't properly defended Mehcad's character against the legal opposition's slanderous claims. Scott's worries were confirmed when Jolene was ultimately found not guilty, a massive upset to the Carter family and their many supporters.

RELATED: Check Out the Talented Cast of Law & Order: SVU Season 25 

Leslie Odom Jr on Law and Order SVU Episode 1608

What happened to Reverend Curtis Scott on Law & Order: SVU?

After first brushing shoulders with the SVU, Scott made several other appearances in the NBC nail-biter. In Season 15, Episode 6 ("October Surprise"), Scott was seen endorsing Senator Alex Muñoz (Vincent Laresca) in his campaign to become Mayor. Scott was a proud sponsor for Muñoz due to thinking he was the city's ticket toward urban renewal, but that endorsement became problematic after Muñoz was arrested for sexting a minor. Scott chastized Barba for his role in the Senator's downfall due to his community missing out on Muñoz's political agenda, indicating that the Reverend's moral compass isn't as finely tuned as the priest projected.

Scott popped up again in Season 15, Episode 11 ("Amaro's One-Eighty") after former SVU detective Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) mistakenly shot a teenager after falsely believing the kid was armed and shooting at NYPD officers. The snafu led to media mayhem, fueled by Scott's fury over what he felt was a racially motivated shooting. Scott and former Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) verbally duked it out over the incident, and Scott threateningly reminded him that all eyes were on the unit to see how Amaro would be punished.

At a subsequent press conference, Scott made a grand statement about the heinous racial optics of the shooting, further tarnishing Amaro's reputation and the SVU's credibility. Despite his actions being by the book, Amaro's pristine protocol couldn't erase the fact that the teenager was unarmed. Amaro was ultimately not indicted, but his reputation within the NYPD was forever sullied.

Scott returned in Season 15, Episode 18 ("Criminal Stories") after an Arabian woman was assaulted, leading Scott to visit Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) to share his belief that she was raped due to her appearance. Scott was convinced it was a racially motivated hate crime and reminded Benson that city residents don't trust the NYPD to properly navigate a hate crime — but they did trust him.

After a reporter published an article claiming Heba lied about her assault, Scott corralled a community of supporters and journalists to raise awareness of her cause. After Scott teamed up with the SVU to uncover the truth, it was revealed that the assault was not a hate crime, and the survivor ultimately accepted a settlement from her assailants. Scott and the SVU were saddened by the fallout. 

In Season 16 of SVU, Scott returned in Episode 8 ("Spousal Privilege") to advocate for an athlete (Chad L. Coleman) accused of domestic violence against his longtime partner, Paula (Meagan Good). The woman refused to testify against her abuser, claiming that it wasn't her partner's fault and that she wasn't victimized. Scott testified at the trial and commended the husband for his character, but after Barba nailed his cross-examination, the abuser was found guilty. Scott was gobsmacked by the ruling and the realization he advocated for a convicted criminal.

Scott's sometimes-sage advice made another appearance in Episode 21 ("Perverted Justice") after a woman within his congregation met with him to confess that she lied about being raped by her father, who was imprisoned for the incestuous charge. She asked Scott for help in recanting her original testimony, leading Scott to reach out to his lawyers to get the father exonerated, leading him to ask Benson and the SVU for help proving his innocence.

RELATED: Look Back at Every District Attorney from Law & Order: SVU

Season 17 of SVU had a Hamilton crossover moment with Leslie Odom, Jr. and Daveed Diggs

Leslie Odom Jr on Law and Order SVU Episode 1518

Odom's most recent SVU appearance to date was in Season 17, Episode 5 ("Community Policing") — an episode that had Hamilton fans pointing at the television screen with glee.  Odom appeared alongside guest star Daveed Diggs, a reunion between Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson from Hamilton's original Broadway cast. The SVU episode centered around the death of an unarmed Black man named Terrence (Stephon Reynolds), who was shot and killed by three cops who were in pursuit of a rape suspect.

In response to the unrighteous murder, Scott coordinated a sprawling protest to shine a spotlight on the NYPD's track record of profiling Black civilians. Along with Terrence's family and their lawyer, Councilman Henderson (Diggs), Scott visited the SVU to check on the status of the investigation against the cops. Barba assured Scott that the officers were suspended, but the Reverend wasn't satiated.

Scott explained that he doubted the grand jury's ability to determine the truth, launching a parallel investigation into the shooting to ensure justice was served. Scott told Barba that he was exhausted by all of the NYPD killings, and it was about time someone sent a message. At a press conference ahead of the trial, Scott and Henderson delivered a speech detailing that the cops murdered Terrence in cold blood. The opposing disposition attempted to defend the officers, but the support for Scott was overwhelming.

After the jury indicted two of the three involved officers, Scott and Henderson orchestrated another press conference to state that while they were satisfied with the result, the ruling was just the first step toward restorative justice within the NYPD. As Odom shined in his recurring SVU role, his character ultimately provided the social shake-up the NYPD needed.

Stream Leslie Odom, Jr.'s episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on Peacock now.