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Yes, Extended Family Actually Has a Connection to the Very First Season of Law & Order

Ever wonder what it’s like to guest star on Law & Order? An actor with a link to Extended Family recalls his chance like it was yesterday.

By Stephanie Gomulka

Many talented actors have cut their teeth by getting the chance to star on the procedural drama Law & Order and its popular spinoffs over the years. In, fact one member of the Extended Family team did as well. Seasoned actor and creator of Extended Family Mike O'Malley got his first acting job on the iconic show.

How to Watch

Watch Extended Family Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC and next day on Peacock.

O'Malley recently opened to NBC Insider about his career path over years, with him starting out as a cop on Law & Order to becoming the mind behind one of NBC’s latest beloved sitcoms starring Jon Cryer, Donald Faison, and Abigail Spencer.

Who is the creator and showrunner of Extended Family, Mike O’Malley?

O’Malley is actor, writer, and producer. His acting resume includes appearances on Abbott Elementary and Glee, as well as the movie Sully. He’s also worked as a producer and writer on several series, including Shameless and Survivor’s Remorse.

You might even recognize him as the host of the ‘90s show Nickelodeon GUTS. An aspect of the game show O’Malley admires to this day is “kids came first on Nickelodeon.”

Close up of Mike O'Malley

“I knew that when I was a kid I always wanted to be doing stuff that was a little bit more grown up and I think that that’s what GUTS was sort of taking there,” O’Malley said. “I want to feel like what it’s like to dunk a basketball so we created a show where you could do that.”

RELATED: Jon Cryer Had the Sweetest Two And A Half Men Reunion at the Emmys

O’Malley is interested in rebooting any of the shows he’s previously worked on, including GUTS: “I am reboot available,” he joked.

“When I look back at my time in Nickelodeon, we were working really hard to make the best programming we could and to really care about what we were doing while we were doing it,” O’Malley said of his time on the kids sports competition show. “I did not want to continue down that vein of hosting because there were different aspirations that I had.”

One clear aspiration for O’Malley was acting.

Who was Mike O'Malley on Law & Order?

Law & Order first premiered in September 1990 and aired new episodes through 1991. O’Malley vividly remembers getting the chance to guest star as New York Policeman #1 in that initial season.

“We were shooting in Jersey City, overlooking Manhattan and there was a mafia burial ground and I was a cop,” O’Malley said.

The role marked O’Malley’s first job as an actor and his first job under the actor’s union SAG.

“The first shot was like a crane shot,” O’Malley added. “I mean, it must have been 100, 200 yards away…and all this stuff is going on … and the first [Assistant Director] cues me.”

O'Malley forgot to wear his glasses or contacts lenses so he had trouble seeing while on set, he said, laughing at the fond memory. 

“I had one line: 'Sarge, we got a fresh one here'” O’Malley said. “I couldn’t see and so we had to reset and do it a second time.”

He had such an “awesome” time doing the show, O’Malley still knows the episode’s title: “That was The Torrents of Greed.”

O’Malley went on to star in his own shows like Yes, Dear, and The Mike O’Malley Show. He ultimately earned an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Burt Hummel on Glee.

Mike O’Malley on Casting Jon Cryer, Donald Faison and Abigail Spencer in Extended Family

His new comedy follows Jim (Cryer) and Julia (Spencer) as they raise their two kids after divorcing, but Julia’s new love interest Trey (Faison) complicates things.

O’Malley found the process of asking Cryer to take on the role of Jim on the show to be a “very simple thing,” he told NBC Insider.

Jim on Extended Family Episode 102

Cryer, known for his role as Alan Harper on Two and Half Men, brings a dedicated audience who “absolutely loves him," according to O'Malley.  

“I think that the show has really evolved to be written in a voice that’s really unique for Jon,” O’Malley explained.

Extended Family airs Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC. All episodes will be available to stream next day on Peacock.