Our 31 Favorite Celebrity ‘SVU’ Guest Stars

Our 31 Favorite Celebrity ‘SVU’ Guest Stars

A slew of talent has visited Benson & Co. over the years (including Jerry Lewis and Robin Williams). In fact, quite a few familiar faces have logged face time on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit over its 25 (and counting!) seasons, sometimes even as multiple characters.

Below, scroll through our favorite celebrity guest appearances. Were there any stars that you forgot were a part of the SVU universe? Let us know in the comments section, below.

Daveed Diggs

Season 17, “Community Policing” and “Forty-One Witnesses”

Also known for his Tony-winning turn in Broadway’s Hamilton, Diggs first stopped by the procedural as civil-rights attorney Louis Henderson in 2015’s “Community Policing,” guest starring opposite his Hamilton costar Leslie Odom Jr.Sarah Hyland

Season 3 & 10 (2 episodes)

The Modern Family star appeared on SVU twice: the 2001 episode “Repression” and 2009’s “Hothouse.” In the latter, an 18-year- old Hyland played Jennifer, a manic 14- year-old prodigy who confesses to killing her roommate out of jealousy.

Bob Saget

Season 8, “Choreographed”

In 2006, the Tanner grandpa played Glenn Cheales, a self-described computer nerd embroiled in a case involving a model who ends up poisoned to death in Central Park while walking her dog.

Geneva Carr

Season 20 & 22

Before joining the Michael Weatherly starrer Bull, Carr was on SVU three different times. Her most recent appearance was last year, when she played the matriarch of a spiritual TV family (think the Duggars) in which a chaste teen ends up pregnant.

Kal Penn

Season 8, “Outsider”

In 2007, the year he also starred in 24, Penn played Henry Chanoor, the janitor son of a New York doctor with a penchant for scrapbooking former rape cases, eventually becoming fame-obsessed when his attacks on women are reported across the city.

Milo Ventimiglia

Season 5, “Escape”

The This Is Us actor appeared in a 2003 episode as Lee Healy, a twenty-something childhood rape victim kidnapped by his stepfather—a convicted sex offender who’d recently broken out of prison.—Emily AslanianBrooke Shields

Season 19 (5 episodes)

The moment they met at a charity event years ago, Brooke Shields and Mariska Hargitay knew they just had to work together. “We have so much fun bantering with each other,” Shields says. “We’re sort of yin and yang, and yet we’re very similar.” Their characters weren’t so cozy on Law & Order: SVU. Shields’ guest arc saw her play Sheila Porter, the biological grandmother of Benson’s (Hargitay) adopted young son, Noah (Ryan Buggle). Porter—who Benson didn’t know existed—sued for custody of the child, then took matters into her own hands and kidnapped him.—Ileane RudolphRobin Williams

Season 9, “Authority”

In SVU’s 200th episode, comic Williams took a dark turn as a character who impersonated a police officer.—David KeepsSharon Stone

Season 11 (4 episodes)

Sharon Stone appeared in a four-episode arc as Stabler’s (Christopher Meloni) former partner and new ADA Jo Marlowe.—Megan Walsh-BoyleKathy Griffin

Season 11, “P.C.”
Griffin played a militant lesbian, Babs Duffy, who headed up a rights organization when lesbians were targeted for rapes.—William Keck

Jane Kaczmarek

Season 14, “Beautiful Frame”

Jane Kaczmarek played Pam James, an ambitious Long Island DA who indicted a young woman for killing her abusive boyfriend after he raped her. —Ileane RudolphHarry Connick Jr.

Season 13 (4 episodes)

Harry Connick Jr. played executive ADA David Haden—who (secretly) got very close to Benson.Ann-Margret

Season 11, “Bedtime”

In her Emmy-winning appearance in 2010, Ann-Margret played Rita Wills, a woman suspected of killing her lover’s wife. Her convincingly crazy performance is explosive, featuring a broken martini glass and some genuinely unhinged outbursts. Susan Anton, Jaclyn Smith and Morgan Fairchild also appeared in the celebrity-filled episode.Carol Burnett

Season 10, “Ballerina”

Burnett played Birdie Sulloway, a former dancer whose five husbands all died under mysterious circumstances. She was nominated for an Emmy (but lost that year to Ellen Burstyn).Brenda Blethyn

Season 10, “Persona”

Two-time Oscar nominee Blethyn (Little Voice, Secrets & Lies) snagged an Emmy nod for her role in the 2008 episode as a fugitive who had been on the run ever since killing her allegedly abusive husband 30 years before.Marlee Matlin

Seasons 5–6 (two episodes)

The Oscar winner played an in vitro fertilization doctor with failing kidneys who got close to Munch (Richard Belzer). Charged in an assisted suicide case, she was later accused of facilitating the sale of human organs.Martin Short

Season 6, “Pure”

Before solving crimes on Only Murders in the Building, Short inserted himself into police investigations as self-proclaimed clairvoyant Sebastian Ballentine—but his character was more psycho than psychic.

Jeremy Irons

Season 12, “Mask” and “Totem”

Oscar, Emmy and Tony winner Jeremy Irons portrayed Dr. Captain Jackson (yes, really), a psychotherapist who treats people with sex addiction and whose daughter was attacked. He later consults with the SVU.Jerry Lewis

Season 8, “Uncle”

The notable comedian and Holly-wood legend took a dramatic turn in this 2006 episode. He played Andrew, a mentally ill homeless man—and Munch’s long-lost uncle Andrew—who was also the prime suspect in a murder case.Henry Winkler

Season 3, “Greed”

Winkler flexed his dramatic talents in 2002 as Edwin Todd, who appears to be the innocent husband of a victim (Mary Beth Hurt) until the investigation takes a turn.Angela Lansbury

Season 6, “Night”

Lansbury earned an Emmy nod in 2005 for her performance as Eleanor Duvall, the influential mother of a rapist. It’s a star- studded episode, with Bradley Cooper and Rita Moreno also guest starring.Patricia Arquette

Season 14, “Dreams Deferred”

Emmy and Oscar winner Arquette (Medium) gave an emotional guest performance in 2012, portraying an aging, abused sex worker who helps the SVU team track down one of her johns who has gone on a killing spree.Snoop Dogg

Season 20, “Diss”

After a pop star was assaulted, the SVU team looked into her rapper husband’s ongoing feud with a rival artist, Banks, who was played by Snoop Dogg. Other musicians have appeared as guest stars, including Questlove (he’s also the leader of The Tonight Show’s house band, the Roots), who played a corpse!Cynthia Nixon

Season 9, “Alternate”

Cynthia Nixon guest starred as Janis Donovan, a woman with dissociative identity disorder (aka multiple personalities) suspected of hurting her daughter. She won an Emmy for her appearance in the emotionally fraught episode.Ellen Burstyn

Season 10, “Swing”

As Stabler’s estranged mother Bernie (a role she continues on Organized Crime), Burstyn won an Emmy in 2009 for this episode that forced Stabler to confront his past when his daughter got in legal trouble.Tracy Pollan

Seasons 1–2 (two episodes)

Pollan was nominated for an Emmy in 2000 for her first turn as Harper Anderson, a woman who is unable to identify her rapist. She revisited the character, more determined for justice, in Season 2.Jane Alexander

Season 1, “Entitled”

Alexander earned an Emmy nomination for her appearance as a politically influential matriarch in a crossover episode where the SVU teamed up with the detectives from Law & Order to investigate a covered-up murder.Viola Davis

Seasons 4–10 (seven episodes)

Before she portrayed Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder, Academy Award winner Viola Davis made recurring guest appearances on SVU as impressive and unflappable defense attorney Donna Emmett.Marcia Gay Harden

Seasons 7–14 (four episodes)

Harden’s first appearance was in 2005’s “Raw” as undercover FBI agent Dana Lewis, who infiltrated a white supremacist group. She returned in three more episodes and earned an Emmy nomination for the role.Martha Plimpton

Season 3, “Denial”

In her 2002 Emmy-nominated appearance, Plimpton played Claire Rinato, a victim of abuse who was addicted to drugs and suspected of murder after detectives found a mummified finger in her purse.

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