If there’s one thing I know (and know well), it’s a little hit show about sexually-based offenses called Law and Order: SVU. I fancy myself an SVU expert and am always the first person to jump in and say, “that was an episode of SVU” or “that actor was on an amazing episode of SVU.” Besides the core cast of Benson, Stabler (I refuse to acknowledge he’s no longer on the show), Fin and Munch, SVU also gets amazing guest stars in episodes. But something magical happens when they have MULTIPLE guest stars in one episode.
So as a result, and because I desperately want the job of programming SVU marathons, I bring you The Best Guest Star Pairings on Law and Order: SVU.
SVU Episode: “Behave” Season 12, Episode 3
Guest Star Pairing: Jennifer Love Hewitt / Skeet Ulrich / James LeGros
Why it’s Awesome: Jennifer Love Hewitt and Skeet Ulrich didn’t star in the SAME late 90s teen movies but they still starred in late 90s teen movies so seeing them show up together in this episode of SVU in 2010 was no less than amazing. JLH plays a rape victim who says she’s been repeatedly raped by the same guy, across the country for YEARS. Yes. And Skeet Ulrich plays a detective in Los Angeles to set him up for the ill-fated Law and Order: Los Angeles.
But who’s that rapist? Oh, right, Resident Creepster, James LeGros. You might remember him as “That Dude Phoebe Buffay Went On A Date With Before Meeting Alec Baldwin” on Friends or more recently as The Dad of The Kids Jessa Was Nannying For Who Goes To That Bushwick Party With Her on Girls. Either way it’s not hard to picture him as a super stalker dude who chases Jennifer Love Hewitt. Also this episode features a storage locker filled with messed-up rapist trophies and Jennifer Love Hewitt in a candy striper outfit. Score.
SVU Episode: “Ballerina” Season 10, Episode 16
Guest Star Pairing: Carol Burnett / Matthew Lillard
Why it’s Awesome: Let’s continue our Late 90s Teen Star Adventure with a visit to an episode co-starring Matthew Lillard. When I saw this episode it took a few beats for me to really soak in WHO I was looking at. They promoted Carol Burnett heavily in this episode and then Matthew Lillard served as a complementary side dish.
Carol Burnett plays an aging ballerina (hence the title) who has been married many times. Her only constant? Her “nephew” Chet played by Matthew Lillard. Chet and Birdie (Carol Burnett, obviously) have a very “close” relationship, which is discussed in very vague terms throughout the episode. Turns out Birdie is a bit of a Black Widow and of course her loyal boy toy was present for all of these deaths. Everything about this episode is spot on, including Birdie’s eventual betrayal of Chet from a hospital bed, natch.
SVU Episode: “Bound” Season 5, Episode 23
Guest Star Pairing: Jane Krakowski / Anthony Rapp
Why it’s Awesome: Before she was Jenna Maroney but after she already won me over as Elaine Vassel, Jane Krawkowski was in an episode of SVU playing the sister of Original Production of Rent Mark Cohen: Anthony Rapp. Basically the episode is a bunch of elderly women dying, Mark Cohen getting blamed and then Jane Krakowski quite literally getting away with murder. She even chokes herself and says it’s her brother at one point. SHE IS NUTS.
One of the greatest moments in SVU is whenever Stabler or Benson pretend to get in a fight in front of a perp to “turn them.” This is done wonderfully at the end of “Bound” where Stabler yells at Benson in front of Jane, which reminds Jane of how her brother always acted growing up and which led her to kill her own mother and it’s just… perfect. When she starts confessing and Benson asks if she remembers any of the names of the old women she murdered, Jane’s last line is “they were all called mama.” Damn.
SVU Episode: “Trials” Season 10, Episode 1
Guest Star Pairing: Julie Bowen / Luke Perry / Sara Gilbert
Why it’s Awesome: This is a trifecta of awesome, everyone. Not just two great guest stars, but three. All intertwined in each other’s lives. You have Dylan McKay, Claire Dunphy (though at the time I knew her best as Aunt Gwen from Dawson’s Creek) and Darlene Connor all sharing screen time.
Julie Bowen and Luke Perry are foster parents to a young boy who gets caught driving a runaway van and saying he had to escape his abuse from them. Duhn Duhn. Turns out, Julie Bowen is allowing clinical drug tests to be performed on their foster kid, whoops! But that’s not the end of it, of course, because this is SVU. His birth mom is Sara Gilbert! Who is a rape victim Benson has dealt with! (COINCIDENCE!) But then Julie Bowen is ALSO a rape victim. Duhn Duhn Duhn. But then obviously they can’t stop there and Luke Perry’s been the rapist the whole time. Gosh, I love this show.
SVU Episode: “Choreographed” Season 8, Episode 9
Guest Star Pairing: Bob Saget / Chris Sarandon / Bernadette Peters
Why it’s Awesome: If there’s one thing I like (as evidenced by this list), it’s actors who shaped my childhood appearing on episodes of Law and Order: SVU. To round out the theme and this list, here is an episode starring Danny Tanner, Prince Humperdinck and, for crying out loud, Bernadette Peters. (Now, I know Catherine Bell is also in the episode but I don’t know her except as The Woman From JAG so she doesn’t count).
Basically, Chris Sarandon’s wife is found dead in Central Park because Central Park is obviously the only place people get murdered and Bob Saget and Catherine Bell (fine, I’ll mention her) are married and friends of his. Then they find out Catherine Bell and Chris Sarandon are having an affair so they’re SUPER suspicious of Chris Sarandon because obviously Danny Tanner isn’t a murderer. Berndatte Peters plays an attorney obviously and we just sit there watching the screen hoping she’ll start singing (spoiler alert: she doesn’t). And THEN Catherine Bell gets sick and it’s because Bob Saget implanted her with a some crazy GPS tracking chip because he’s a computer nerd and he’s been stalking her. IT WAS DANNY TANNER ALL ALONG.
And that is why Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is the best.