Craziest A-List Actors Appearances in Law & Order Franchise
Over the entirety of the Law & Order franchise, the series has been blessed with A-list actors that have made guest appearances either before they jumped into stardom or while their careers have been hot. They have appeared as cops, lawyers, victims, and even the occasional murderer or mastermind criminal.
With a franchise that includes the original Law & Order, Special Victims Unit, Criminal Intent, Trial by Jury, LA, True Crime, and Organized Crime, the list is not a short one by any means. Here are 10 of the craziest guest appearances from A-list actors.
Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden is a well-established actor who has been in numerous feature films as well as starred on television. Her most recent TV effort is the series So Help Me Todd. She made her first appearance on Law & Order: SVU in 2005’s season 7 as FBI Agent Dana Lewis. Harden would follow that up in season 8 as Lewis and then again in seasons 12 and 14.
Everyone knows John Stamos from the hit series Full House where he played “Uncle” Jessie Katsopolis. Stamos made a Law & Order: SVU appearance in season 12 as Ken Turner, a man who is involved in a very complicated paternity case. Turner is a “reproductive abuser” who has over 20 children.
Besides being an actor, Stamos is also a very well-rounded musician. He toured for years with the legendary band, The Beach Boys as their drummer, guitar player, and sometimes singer.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
The late Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the original A-listers who kicked off the very first season of Law & Order. Hoffman played Steven Hanauer in the season 1 episode The Violence of Summer. The episode involves a rape case that finds additional evidence showing there may have been another unidentified attacker. As Hanauer, this was Hoffman’s very first Hollywood role.
In 2005, the legendary Angela Lansbury played Eleanor Duvall in Law & Order: SVU then followed it up by playing the same character in the Law & Order: Trial by Jury cross-over event. What makes the Murder She Wrote star’s appearance so special is that she was already into her 7th decade performing when she took on the role. Landsbury would go on to act for 9 decades. Her final appearance was in the film Rian Johnson’s murder mystery, Glass Onion.
Former A-lister Jeremy Irons made his appearance on Law & Order: SVU during the series’ season 12. He played Dr. Captain Jackson, a brilliant surgeon who carries with him a dark secret. Irons played Dr. Jackson twice during season 12. Irons is probably best known for playing Claus von Bulow in the feature Reversal of Fortune, a role in which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Before Bradley Cooper shot to stardom, he starred in Law & Order: SVU as Jason Whitaker, a lawyer who has been accused of killing his pregnant wife. He also carried that role over to Law & Order: Trial by Jury. This appearance came right before he would star in the feature film comedy, Wedding Crashers as Sack Lodge. Shortly after, Cooper’s career would begin its upward trend.
Not only did Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone appear in season 11 of Law & Order: SVU, but she appeared in a four-episode run of the hit series. In it, Stone played former cop-turned-prosecutor, ADA Jo Marlowe. The new ADA is Elliot Stabler’s (Christopher Meloni) old partner.
They team up one last time to track down a suspected murderer, uncover a massive baby-trafficking scheme, the rape of three young girls, and go in search of a young boy who has been kidnapped by his mother.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson’s career was well on its way when he played DA Louis Taggert in an episode of Law & Order’s first season 1. What made this episode special was that not only did Jackson appear in this episode, but it was also the same one that Philip Seymour Hoffman starred in as well.
Jackson would go on to greater heights a few years later when he starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. It would be this role that would truly put him on Hollywood’s A-list, one he has yet to get off of.
It was a mild shock when A-lister Julia Roberts appeared on Law & Order. She already had smash films out like Steel Magnolias, Pretty Woman, Sleeping with the Enemy, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and Notting Hill. In the season 9 episode, Roberts played Katrina Ludlow, a victim of domestic abuse. Of course, Roberts would go on to star in other big hits such as Erin Brockovich, America’s Sweethearts, Mona Lisa Smile, and Mirror, Mirror.
The late Robin Williams starred in Law & Order: SVU in what was one of his most disturbing dramatic performances. Here he played Merritt Rook, a man who uses his intelligence to manipulate others, causing chaos and leaving destruction in his path. It was especially shocking to see Williams portray such a character as most of his performances centered on his ability to make people laugh.