The “Law & Order” franchise that began in 1990 currently has over 1,070 episodes under its belt. As the show ran for over 25 years, it should come as no surprise that many famous faces have popped up throughout the series. Here’s a list of celebrities that you probably didn’t know had roles on this award-winning TV drama. Some appeared before they were famous, and others had guest appearances.
Martha Stewart appeared in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” Season 13, Episode 21, that first aired on May 9, 2012. She played the role of Eleanor Hastings, a private school’s headmistress, as the SVU Squad investigated a string of hate crimes.
What’s Martha Stewart doing now?
She is currently hosting her show on PBS titled “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School.” Every 30-minute episode includes her step-by-step process as she demonstrates her passion for cooking. You may have seen her recently on NBC’s “Today,” where she’s a regular contributor of cooking, crafts, and gardening segments.
Bob Saget appeared as Glenn Cheales, a liver donating murder suspect, in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” Season 8, Episode 9, that first aired on November 28, 2006. This was over a decade after “Full House” aired its final episode.
What’s Bob Saget up to now?
Bob guest starred in two episodes of “Grandfathered” in 2015 and 2016. The show is produced by John Stamos. Bob is also a board member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation. The foundation has raised millions of dollars over the last decade as it tries to find new and improved therapies, as well as a cure, for scleroderma.
Fact #1: It Was Respected By Cops
Police in New York City routinely said they loved the show because it was the most realistic police show on television. Producers of the show worked with law enforcement to get as many facts right as possible.
Julianna Margulies appeared in many small television roles before becoming a household name. You might remember her from the award winning show, “ER.” But before she was busy filming hospital scenes, she took on the role of Lieutenant Ruth Mendoza in “Law & Order” Season 3, Episode 17, that first aired on March 10, 1993.
Here’s what has Julianna Margulies been up to recently
She has been playing the role of Alicia Florrick in the TV series “The Good Wife.” In 2015, she was also featured as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time. It’s been announced that she will also be acting opposite Richard Gere in the film Three Christs.
John Krasinski appeared as Jace Gleesing in “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” Season 3, Episode 11, that first aired on January 11, 2004. In this episode, detectives try to find a link between the killings of a private investigator and a star high-school athlete. The title of the episode was “Mad Hops.”
What’s new with John Krasinski?
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt announced in January 2016 that they have second child on the way. He also has upcoming roles in the movies 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Animal Crackers, and God Particle. He’s also going to be in the TV Series called “Jack Ryan,” a TV show based on the adventures of a CIA operative from Tom Clancy’s series of spy novels.
Fact #2: Philip Seymour Hoffman got his start on Law & Order
Hoffman rose to fame after appearing in the first season of this popular series. He appeared in 1991 on the episode titled “The Violence of Summer.” It was one of the few episodes where “Order” came before “Law.”
Shortly after appearing in Zoya, Harvest of Fire, Swift Justice, and Dead Man’s Walk, Jennifer Garner appeared as a graduate student named Jaime in “Law & Order” Season 6, Episode 23, that first aired on May 22, 1996.
Here’s what Jennifer Garner has been up to recently
Although no one officially filed any papers yet, Jennifer Garner is currently in the process of getting a divorce from her husband, Ben Affleck, who played Batman in the latest Batman vs. Superman movie. She also starred in the 2016 movie Miracles from Heaven, that’s based on the best-selling memoir of the same name by Christy Beam.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson, who was a relatively unknown actor at the time, appeared as Louis Taggert in “Law & Order” Season 1, Episode 14, that first aired on February 5, 1991. The episode was titled “The Violence of Summer.” Although he hadn’t gotten his big break yet, he had been acting professionally for almost two decades.
Where is Samuel L. Jackson now?
These days, Samuel L. Jackson has made it big as Nick Fury in The Avengers movie franchise. He has also landed roles in other major movies such as Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Legend of Tarzan, and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. You can also hear his voice in the video games “Disney Infinity 3.0” and “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes.”
Fact #3: Comedian Jim Gaffigan has appeared in almost every Law & Order spin-off since his original appearance.
Comedian Jim Gaffigan appeared in an episode titled “Flight” during the ninth season of Law & Order. Since that time he has appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Gaffigan once said it was the right of passage for New York actors to appear in the series.
Zoe Saldana played Gabrielle Vega, who is the daughter of a heroin addict who was framed for murdering a young woman. Saldana appeared in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” Season 5, Episode 21, that first aired on April 20, 2004. The episode was titled “Criminal.”
What’s new with Zoe Saldana?
Since appearing on “Law & Order,” Zoe Saldana had a big performance breakthrough in 2009 with her roles as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek and Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar. She married Italian artist Marco Perego in 2013 and they have twin sons. Be on the lookout for her in the upcoming sequel movies Star Trek Beyond, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Avatar 2.
Hilary Duff portrayed Ashlee Walker, an immature mother whose daughter Sierra died of measles because she didn’t get vaccinated. She appeared in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” Season 10, Episode 19, that first aired on April 28, 2009. The episode was titled “Selfish.”
What’s new with Hilary Duff?
At the age of 28, Hilary Duff is enjoying motherhood and loves hanging out with her four-year-old son. Family life hasn’t put a stop to her career, though. She has the lead role in the television series “Younger.” And she took on the character Amanda L. Benson in the movie Flock of Dudes.
Fact #4: Dead Bodies Were Hilarious
With long hours spent on the set in the early days of the show, actors would oftentimes get bored and have fun with dead bodies on the set. Keep in mind that those dead bodies were played by real actors and actresses.
Edie Falco appeared as a defense attorney, Sally Bell, on “Law & Order.” It was a recurring role in four episodes during the ’90s. This was before she starred in the movie Fargo and the hit TV series “The Sopranos.”
Edie Falco today
Falco went on to star as Jackie Peyton in the TV show “Nurse Jackie” from 2009-2015. She’s now transitioned to play Sylvia in the series “Horace and Pete” that was created, written, and directed by comedian Louis C.K. She is an advocate of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step program.
Fred Savage is best known for his role as Kevin Arnold in the American television series “The Wonder Years.” But in 2003, he appeared as Michael Gardner, who terrorized 6 known victims, in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” Season 4, Episode 22. The title of the episode is “Futility.”
Here’s what Fred Savage has been up to
Fred Savage was interested in acting, but when he met with some producers about an upcoming project, he agreed to take on the role of Stewart Sanderson, an attorney in the Fox series “The Grinder.” The TV comedy stars Savage and Rob Lowe as his older brother. Will there be a “Wonder Years” reboot in the near future? We don’t think so, as it’s been reported that Fred Savage has said no many times regarding this.
Fact #5: The Show Filmed In Seedy Areas.
Many people were afraid to show up for auditions during the first seasons of Law & Order because the show filmed on a desolate pier that didn’t feel safe. In fact, actors on the show were picked up at home and driven to the set to ensure their safety.
Idris Elba played as Lonnie Liston in “Law & Order” Season 12, Episode 9 that first aired on November 28, 2001. This episode was loosely based on P. Diddy and the New York Club shooting in 1999. The title of the episode is “3 Dawg Night.”
Where is Idris Elba in his career today?
Best known for his portrayal of drug baron Russell “Stringer” Bell in the HBO series “The Wire,” Idris Elba has his plate full with acting and voice-overs. You can hear him take on roles in Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and Finding Dory. You can also see him acting in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Trek Beyond, and as Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower.
Leighton Meester played Alyssa Turner in “Law & Order” Season 9, Episode 15, that first aired on February 24, 1999. The episode was titled “Disciple,” and it was about a religious group performing rituals. It seems to come from the true headlines from the Charity Miranda case.
What is Leighton Meester up to?
Widely known for her starring role as Blair Waldorf in the drama series “Gossip Girl,” Leighton Meester will star on Fox’s new show “Making History.” It’s a thirty-minute comedy created by the minds behind The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street, and the TV show “The Last Man on Earth.” Keep your eyes open because it should premiere in 2017.
Fact #6: Dick Wolf had plans to bring the original cast together with members of SVU and Criminal Intent.
He announced the show in 2001 but cancelled it after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The mini-series was going to focus on detectives trying to find the men responsible for a terrorist attack on New York.
Before playing Ted Mosby on the Emmy Award-winning CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” actor Josh Radnor took on the part of Robert Kitson in “Law & Order” Season 12, Episode 15. It first aired on February 27, 2002. The episode was titled “Access Nation.”
Here’s what’s new with actor Josh Radnor
“How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor will be working behind the camera. He’s going to be directing a sci-fi drama called The Leaves for Lionsgate. He’s also going to be acting in the play “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour. The play had its world premiere in 2011 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and it’s performed every Monday in New York’s Westside Theatre
Claire Danes took on the role as Tracy Brandt in “Law & Order” Season 3, Episode 1, that first aired on September 23, 1992. The episode was titled “Skin Deep.” .
Here’s what Claire Danes has been up to
Claire Danes received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in September, 2015. In 2016, Danes performed in the play “Dry Powder,” starring alongside John Krasinski, Hank Azaria, and Sanjit De Silva. She currently stars as Carrie Mathison in the TV hit series “Homeland.” Claire has won many award while playing this role, including the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, the Satellite Award for Best Actress, and the TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama. You can catch Claire Danes this year in “Homeland” Season 6.
Fact #7: The brown coat and the second hand store.
Chris Noth’s character, Detective Mike Logan, wore a brown leather coat throughout the series. It turns out that the wardrobe department didn’t supply the coat. Instead, Noth picked it up at a second-hand clothing store.
Before being cast as Daryl Dixon on “The Walking Dead,” Norman Reedus appeared as Derek Lord in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” Season 7, Episode 22, that first aired on May 16, 2006. The episode was titled “Influence.”
Here’s what Norman Reedus has been up to
Norman Reedus was the voice of Rolo in Voltron: Legendary Defender. He also played the role of Russell Welch in the American crime-thriller-drama film directed by John Hillcoat, Triple 9. But don’t worry if you’re a fan of “The Walking Dead,”because Reedus still holds on to the role of Daryl Dixon.
You may know Rob McElhenney from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” But before his rise to fame, McElhenney appeared as Joey Timon on “Law & Order” Season 8, Episode 1, that first aired on September 24, 1997. The episode was titled “Thrill,” and the story was based on two teens who are accused of killing a deliveryman.
What’s new with Rob McElhenney?
Rob McElhenney and the cast of FXX’s sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” showed their support for Orlando massacre victims by showing up for the L.A. Pride event. Besides starring in the sitcom he co-created, McElhenney will be directing the Minecraft movie that will be released by Warner Bros. in 2019.
Fact #8: Product placements Taken to the extreme?
When TNT picked up the show for syndication they used digital technology to insert “product placement” into the show. Whenever there is a Coca-Cola can sitting on a desk it was digitally inserted into the show.
Before winning her first Emmy Award in 2002 for Wild Iris, actress Laura Linney appeared as Martha Bowen in “Law & Order” Season 5, Episode 3, which first aired on October 5, 1994. The episode was titled “Blue Bamboo,” and it was inspired by the Japanese use of comfort women during World War II.
What’s new with Laura Linney?
Laura Linney acted as Rebecca Vincent in the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. You can expect to see her portray Lorraine Sullenberger in the upcoming movie Sully. And in 2017, the movie The Dinner will be released, where she takes on the role of Claire Lohman. Linney also plans to give it her all in the Broadway revival of “The Little Foxes.”
Before Romanian-American actor Sebastian Stan became famous from the Captain America franchise, he took on a role as Justin Lafferty in “Law & Order” Season 13, Episode 2, that first aired on May 14, 2003. The episode was titled “Sheltered” and it as about random shootings.
Here’s what Sebastian Stan is up to
Sebastian Stan is well-known for his role as Bucky Barnes in the Captain America franchise, but he’s also going to be appearing in the upcoming movie I’m Not Here, as a guy named Steve. Stan is still dating Margarita Levieva, who was his co-star in the 2009 film Spread.
Before The Avengers, Clark Gregg started as Patrick Dunne in “Law & Order” Season 1, Episode 12, that first aired on January 8, 1991. The episode was titled “Life Choice,” which may be one of creator Dick Wolf’s favorite episodes.
Here’s what Clark Gregg has been up to
Clark Gregg is now well-known for his role as Phil Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in both movies and a TV series. He’s been voice acting in the Marvel video games, and the TV show where he plays Coulson, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” is currently airing.
Fact #9: The Law & Order Sound
The famous noise between scenes was actually created using various distinct sounds. Listen close enough and you might even hear monks stomping on a floor. Producers were aiming for the sound of a judge’s gavel mixed with a jail cell door slamming.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
You may not remember this, but Philip Seymour Hoffman starred as Steven Hanauer alongside Samuel L. Jackson in “Law & Order” Season 1, Episode 14, which first aired on February 5, 1991. The episode was titled “The Violence of Summer.”
The latest on Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman died in 2014 of a drug overdose, but you might remember him from his latest role in “The Hunger Games” movie series. During the filming of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2,” his two remaining scenes were rewritten because he had passed away before those scenes were filmed. He left his estate to Mimi O’Donnell, with whom he had a relationship for 14 years. The estate was valued at $35 million.