59 Actors Who Have Been on ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'

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In the past 15 seasons of the Dick Wolf-produced “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” there have been dozens of incredible guest stars with varying levels of fame. Though the show itself is a Golden Globe winner, there has always been room for more talent, including acting legends, and Oscar-nominated stars.

From Cynthia Nixon to John Stamos, Carol Burnett to Martin Short, and Bradley Cooper to Aaron Tveit, the show’s guest stars seem to come from a bottomless pit of talent. And though there’s no telling what actors will grace the “SVU” set in future seasons, we can look back and remember the memorable guest star performances of the past.

Amanda Seyfriend
Before “Les Misérables” and “Mamma Mia,” Amanda Seyfriend played a missing teenager found sexually assaulted and beaten in the sixth-season episode “Outcry.” Seyfried’s character recants her statement accusing her attacker, and makes the case hard for the detectives.

Robin Williams
Yes, the very talented Robin Williams guest-starred on “SVU” during the show’s ninth season. Williams played a very manipulative and sneaky man accused of impersonating a police officer and then instructing a fast food manager to sexually assault an employee. The episode, “Authority,” is based on the Milgram experiment on obedience and authority.

Bob Saget
“Full House” star and comedian Bob Saget joined the “SVU” cast for one episode during the eighth season. In the episode, “Choreographed,” Saget plays the jealous, criminal husband of a woman discovered to have had a tracking chip implanted in her.

Carol Burnett
Giving an incredibly memorable performance, Carol Burnett plays Birdie Sulloway in the tenth-season episode, “Ballerina.” Burnett is suspected to have killed her husband, and has an unusual, sexual relationship with her nephew.

Bonus! Her nephew is played by Matthew Lillard, aka Shaggy in “Scooby-Doo.” Zoinks!

John Ritter
The late “Three’s Company” star John Ritter had a spot in the third-season episode, “Monogamy.” Ritter plays a psychiatrist, and husband of a woman who was attacked, and whose fetus was ripped from her womb.

Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks of “Hunger Games,” “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” fame gives a memorable performance during the third season of “SVU.” In the episode, “Sacrifice,” Banks plays a desperate mother who turns to porn to pay for her disabled daughter’s medical bills.

Bonus! “Saved by the Bell’s” Mark-Paul Gosselaar plays her husband! Zack Morris!

Milo Ventimiglia
In that same episode with Fionnula Flanagan, Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes”) plays a young sexual assault victim. The episode gets pretty heated, complete with a hostage situation.

Bobby Cannavale
Joining John Ritter in “Monogamy” is none other than Bobby Cannavale. Cannavale has also guest-starred on “Law & Order,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

Ty Burrell
Even “Modern Family” actor Ty Burrell has guest-starred on “SVU” in the third-season episode, “Execution.” Burrell plays the attorney of a murder suspect already awaiting his execution on death row.

Henry Winkler
Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli is no stranger to “SVU” either. During the third season, “Happy Days” star Henry Winkler plays the lying husband of a woman found sexually assaulted and beaten in the episode, “Greed.” Eventually, it is discovered that Winkler’s character is not who he says he is.

Pam Grier
“Jackie Wilson” star Pam Grier has been on “SVU” twice, guest-starring as Asst. U.S. Attorney Claudia Williams. Grier appears in the episodes “Pandora” and “Disappearing Acts.”

Rainn Wilson
Before Rainn Wilson was Dwight Schrute on “The Office,” he was a janitor in the fourth-season episode, “Waste.” The episode follows the case of a comatose woman who is found to be seven months pregnant. Wilson plays a janitor in the hospital.

Connor Paolo
Connor Paolo (“Gossip Girl” and “Revenge”) played two separate characters on two different episodes of “SVU.” In the fourth season, Paolo plays a middle school boy accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the episode, “Juvenile.” Then, in the seventh-season episode, “Web,” Paolo plays a boy who claims he was molested.

Frank Langella
Before he was an Oscar-nominated star, Frank Langella had a small part as a building super in the fourth season of “SVU.” In the episode, “Dominance,” Langella plays the father of two young boys who are suspected to have committed multiple homicides and sexual assaults.

Bonus! One of the sons is played by "The Vampire Diaries" star Ian Somerhalder!

Fred Savage
Kevin Arnold of “The Wonder Years” grew up, and got scary! In the fourth-season episode “Futility,” Fred Savage plays a man accused of sexually assaulting several women in his neighborhood. Savage’s character ditches his lawyer and represents himself, making for an interesting twist.

George Segal
In the fifth season of “SVU,” “Just Shoot Me!” star George Segal plays a bigoted psychologist and father of a gay man whose partner is found dead in the episode “Abomination.” (This episode has the one of the best lines in “SVU” history from A.D.A. Casey Novak. Totally worth the watch!)

Fionnula Flanagan
“The Others” star Fionnula Flanagan plays the mother of a wrongfully-accused man in the fifth-season episode “Escape.”

Gary Cole
Post- “Office Space,” Gary Cole appeared in the fifth season of “SVU” as the father of a college student murdered by his fraternity brothers. In the episode, “Brotherhood,” Cole represents his son’s killers, truly believing they didn’t do it.

Marlee Matlin
Marlee Matlin has guest-starred on “SVU” twice as Dr. Amy Solwey. In the fifth-season episode, “Painless,” Matlin’s character is discovered to be assisting people in suicide efforts. In the sixth-season episode, “Parts,” Matlin’s character is found to be involved in black market organ ring.

Kyle MachLachlan
There’s no doubt that Kyle MachLachlan can play creepy really well. (If you don’t understand why, check out his performances in “Twin Peaks” and “Desperate Housewives.) In his first appearance on “SVU,” MachLachlan plays a psychiatrist and the father of a young boy who was murdered by his (also young) friend in the sixth-season episode, “Conscience.” (There’s a great twist in this episode.) The second time MachLachlan guest-starred on the show was in the thirteenth-season episode, “Blood Brothers,” where he plays a wealthy ambassador with a serious secret.

Tom Skerritt
Tom Skerritt (“Alien,” “Picket Fences,” and “Top Gun”) guest-starred in the fifth-season episode, “Poision.” Skerritt plays a judge who is discovered to have a pattern of wrongfully incarcerating innocent women.

Lea Thompson
“Back to the Future” star Lea Thompson plays a mother convinced she’s found her kidnapped daughter after years in the sixth-season episode “Birthright.” Thompson’s character is not believed at first, but her intuition leads to the discovery of a fertility doctor who had been stealing embryos.

Abigail Breslin
This Oscar-nominated youngster was in the same episode as Lea Thompson. In the fifth-season episode “Birthright,” Breslin plays the girl that Thompson’s character is convinced is her daughter.

Anne Meara
Anne Meara of “All My Children” fame is in what is easily one of the most chilling episodes of “SVU.” In the sixth-season episode, “Scavenger,” Meara plays the mother of a serial killer who sends the detectives on a scavenger hunt all over the city to find his victims. Meara is also in the fourteenth-season episode, “Dreams Deferred,” with Patricia Arquette playing her daughter.

Martin Short
Martin Short guest-starred on “SVU” in its sixth-season. Short plays a psychic who volunteers to help the detectives when an 18-year-old girl is kidnapped, but his character isn’t exactly telling the truth about where he gets his information.

Angela Lansbury
Three-time-Oscar-nominee Angela Lansbury plays the mother of a sexual assault suspect in the sixth-season episode, “Night.” Lansbury is one of many famous actors in this episode.

Alfred Molina
In that same episode, “Night,” with Angela Lansbury, Alfred Molina plays the son of Lansbury’s character, and his accused of committing sexual assault.

Bradley Cooper
In that same episode as Angela Lansbury and Alfred Molina (Can you believe it?), Bradley Cooper plays a scheming lawyer who represents Molina’s character.

Lou Diamond Phillips
Lou Diamond Phillips plays a memorable character in the seventh-season episode “Fault.” His character is a serial pedophile who kidnaps two children and has the detectives chasing after him. (This episode cannot be missed.)

Brittany Snow
Brittany Snow guest-stars on “SVU” in its seventh season. In the episode, “Influence,” Snow plays an unstable girl who commits a crime while she’s off her prescribed medication.

Bonus! Peter Riegert is in the episode too!

Charles Shaughnessy
In the eighth-season episode, “Recall,” "The Nanny" star Charles Shaughnessy a man suspected of committing several sexual assaults. Oh, Mr. Sheffield!

Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis plays a memorable role in the eighth-season episode “Uncle.” Lewis plays the uncle of Det. Munch, and has been living on the streets for months. Lewis’ character suffers for serious psychological issues. (What happens near the end of this episode is haunting.)

Blair Underwood
Blair Underwood delivers a chilling performance as a stalker husband in the eighth-season episode, “Burned.” Underwood’s character escalates in violence towards his wife as they get divorced.

Cynthia Nixon
In the ninth-season episode, “Alternate,” Cynthia Nixon plays a woman with multiple personalities. Her character develops a scary obsession with Det. Stabler, and things become complicated when her character’s parents are found murdered.

Melissa Joan Hart
Melissa Joan Hart appears in the ninth-season of “SVU.” In the episode, “Impulsive,” Hart plays a teacher accused of being involved with on of her students, but claims she was sexually assaulted.

Rhea Perlman
In the ninth-season episode, “Unorthodox,” Rhea Pearlman has a small part as the lawyer of a young boy who has been sexually assaulted. The episodes deals with a culture clash between the Orthodox Jewish community and secular authorities.

Hilary Duff
Even the “Lizzie McGuire” star has been on “SVU.” In the tenth-season episode, “Selfish” Duff plays an irresponsible young mother who is suspected of killing her baby.

Bill Pullman
Bill Pullman guest-stars in the ninth-season episode, “Closet.” The episode is about a football player who is “outed” during a murder investigation.

Stephen Collins
In the ninth-season of “SVU,” Stephen Collins appears in the episode, “Trade” playing a coffee trader who sleeps with his son’s fiancee.

Jennifer Love-Hewitt
In the twelfth-season episode, “Behave,” Jennifer Love-Hewitt plays a victim who’s been sexually assaulted by the same man for years. Though terrified, her character cooperates in the investigation and prosecution of her attacker.

Julie Bowen
Ty Burrell isn’t the only “Modern Family” star that’s been on “SVU.” In the tenth-season episode, “Trials,” Bowen plays the wife of a man whom is discovered to have committed several sexual assaults over the years.

Ellen Burstyn
Ellen Burstyn plays the small role as Det. Stabler’s mother in the tenth-season episode, “Swing,” delivering a performance equally as chilling as her performance in “Requiem for a Dream.”

James Brolin
James Brolin plays a famed astronaut in the tenth-season episode, “Lunacy.” His character helps the detectives investigate the murder of a fellow astronaut.

Clea DuVall
Clea DuVall plays a woman with an abusive husband in the tenth-season episode, “Persona.” Her character is helped by her neighbor, a woman who’s been harboring secrets about her past.

Carol Kane
Oscar-nominated Carol Kane has been on “SVU” twice as one of Det. Munch’s ex-wives. Kane can be seen in the tenth-season episode, “Zebras,” as well as the fifteenth-season episode, “Wonderland Story.”

Rita Wilson
In the twelfth-season episode, “Delinquent,” Rita Wilson plays the mother of a teenage predator who gets under Det. Stabler’s skin when he accuses him of sexual assault.

Eric McCormack
In the eleventh-season episode, “Sugar,” Eric McCormack plays an Internet entrepreneur who runs a “sugar daddy” website. McCormack’s character is the main suspect for the murder of a young girl who used his online service.

Rosie Perez
Rosie Perez plays the mother of a boy who’s been sexually assaulted by his stepfather in the eleventh-season episode, “Hardwired.” Her character has a hard time dealing with the situation, and nearly jeopardizes the entire investigation.

John Larroquette
In the eleventh-season episode, “Anchor,” John Larroquette plays a high-profile lawyer who represents immigrants being targeted by a serial killer.

Kathy Griffin
Kathy Griffin guest-stars in the eleventh-season episode, “P.C.” Griffin plays the militant leader of a lesbian rights group, who helps detectives in the investigation of the murder of a group member.

John Stamos
In the twelfth-season episode, “Bang,” John Stamos plays a man discovered to be a “reproductive abuser.” His characters is discovered to have over 20 children with different women.

Jaclyn Smith
Jaclyn Smith, one of the original angels of “Charlie’s Angels,” guest-stars in the eleventh-season episode, “Bedtime.” Smith plays a woman who was sexually assaulted in the 1970s, and whose case is looked at when a copycat surfaces. Her character isn’t completely honest with the detectives, however.

Aaron Tveit
Before “Les Misérables” and “Graceland,” Aaron Tveit guest-starred in two episodes of “SVU.” Tveit has small roles in both the eleventh-season episode, “Beef,” and the thirteenth-season episode, “Personal Fouls.”

Sharon Stone
During the eleventh season of “SVU,” Sharon Stone guest-starred in four episodes, where she played A.D.A. Jo Marlowe.

Rose McGowan
In the twelfth-season episode, “Bombshell,” Rose McGowan plays a woman suspected of murder, and a member of a modern-day swingers club.

Debra Messing
The other half of “Will & Grace” has also guest-starred on “SVU.” In the twelfth-season episode, “Pursuit,” Messing plays the host of a “To Catch a Predator”-like show, who is being stalked by the person she believes kidnapped her sister 25 years earlier.

Chloë Sevigny
Chloë Sevigny plays a woman who is attacked in her home while on a video call with her husband in the thirteenth-season episode, “Valentine’s Day.” Her character hides information from the detectives, making the case incredibly complicated.

James Van Der Beek
James Van Der Beek plays an online predator and sperm donor father who tries to have sexual relationships with the children he fathered in the thirteenth-season episode, “Father Dearest.”

Bebe Neuwirth
In one of the very first episodes of “SVU,” Bebe Neuwirth plays a business executive who runs a modeling agency. When two underage models are attacked in the episode, “...Or Just Look Like One,” Neuwirth’s character is questioned by the detectives.

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