Celebs You Forgot Were on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

In honor of Law & Order: SVU's 500th episode, take a closer look at the A-listers who once guest starred on the crime procedural.

By Alyssa Ray, Kelsey Klemme Oct 21, 2021 7:00 PMTags
Watch: Mariska Hargitay Chokes Up Imagining Life Without "Law & Order: SVU"

Dun, dun!

Tonight, Oct. 21 marks the 500th episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and so, we can't help but think about the thousands of actors that have made an appearance on the storied procedural show. Though Mariska Hargitay is the face you think of when SVU pops into your mind, we want to remind you that countless celebrities have acted opposite her over the years.

Stars who have gone on to lead their own shows once had guest starring roles on the series. For instance, before Milo Ventimiglia captured our hearts as Jack Pearson on This Is Us, he appeared as an abuse victim in a 2003 episode, called "Escape." There's also Sarah Hyland, who appeared on the drama (twice!) before booking Modern Family.

We've also seen future movie stars show up on the Emmy-winner, like when Adam Driver had a small role in the show before going on to play Kylo Ren in the Star Wars franchise.

Mariska Hargitay's Law and Order: SVU Hair Through the Years

With the milestone episode just around the corner, we invite you to relive the notable names that once guest starred on SVU. Check them all out below!

Sarah Hyland

Before she starred on Modern Family, Sarah Hyland co-starred in two separate episodes of the procedural law series, first as a child victim in 2001 and then later as killer Jennifer Banks in a 2009 episode.

Kathy Griffin

While we normally see Kathy Griffin as a funny lady, she took on a serious role for Law & Order: SVU when she played Babs Duffy, a lesbian rights group leader who accuses the police department of homophobia when, in her opinion, they are neglecting the murder case of a lesbian woman.

Adam Driver

Before he'd go on to play Kylo Ren, Adam Driver would co-star in both Law & Order as well as Law & Order: SVU, the latter of which saw him play a creepy IT worker who installed cameras in girls' apartments.

Ian Somerhalder

In 2003, Ian Somerhalder terrified us as Charlie Baker on the series, a spree killer who convinced his brother to kill couples before killing four people himself. Thankfully, he was caught by Olivia Benson in the end.

Bradley Cooper

Before he starred in The Hangover and A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper starred in two Law & Order crossover episodes as the defense lawyer for a serial rapist.

Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff's role on the series was compelling but sad, playing a mother who panicked and buried her daughter after she contracted measles from an unvaccinated classmate.

Brittany Snow

Brittany Snow's guest star role was small but memorable when she played Jamie Hoskins, a young woman who accidentally killed a 14-year-old when she attempted to kill herself by running a car into a building but instead hit a crowd of people. When it turns out that she did so while on bipolar medication, her case attracts the attention of rock star Derek Lord, who was played by none other than...

Norman Reedus

Norman Reedus, of The Walking Dead fame! In the same episode with Snow, Reedus' plays a charismatic rock star who has strong views against the pharmaceutical industry's use of medications for mental illnesses and brings them to Jamie Hoskins' court case.

John Stamos

John Stamos played a reproductive abuser who impregnated dozens of women, leading to a pretty grisly end for his character when one of his victims finds out what he's been doing.

Serena Williams

The tennis star played Chloe Spiers in a season five episode where she was a victim of Internet porn.

Milo Ventimiglia

Before he'd go on to capture our hearts in This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia had a small role on the long-running show in 2003 playing a victim of a child molester.

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Golberg shocked us all in her dark role as Chelsey Watkins, a foster mother who manipulates her foster children into robbing homes and committing murders.

Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Binge past episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Peacock.

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A version of this story was originally published on July 9, 2020 at 8 a.m. PT.

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