TV Actors Who have Appeared on Law and Order SVU

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Law and Order SVU is currently the longest running drama on television. The series is in its 16th season and still continues to draw viewers to the NBC network. One of the reasons the show has remained so popular is that fact that Mariska Harigtay, who plays Detective turned Sargent Olivia Benson, has been with the series since Day 1. The Emmy winning actress is also now a producer for the drama. Many television actors have appeared on the show over the years, some before they became a household name. Here is a list of our favorite TV actors that have guest-starred on Law and Order SVU.

Mark-Paul Gosselaar from Franklin & Bash

Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s career did not take off right after he stopped playing Zack Morris on the teen sitcom Saved by the Bell. It would be 8 years after the show ended before he would play Detective John Clark for the four last seasons of NYPD Blue. Prior to appearing on the show, Gosselaar popped up on a season three episode of Law and Order SVU alongside Elizabeth Banks. Gosselaar’s character had been shot and sodomized outside a gay bar. It turns out the couple make adult movies in order to care for their ill daughter. Banks’ character ends up going to jail for murder while Gosselaar is left being a single dad.

Ty Burrell from Modern Family

Ty Burrell’s acting career did not begin until 2001. The following year he would appear on a season three episode of Law and Order SVU. Burrell played attorney Alan Messigner. His client is Matthew Brodus, who is awaiting his execution on death row. Stabler and Dr. Huang must speak with Brodus because they think he raped and killed another woman and would like to provide closure for her parents.

Julie Bowen from Modern Family

Julie Bowen was a familiar face when she made a 2008 appearance on Law and Order SVU. She was working on Boston Legal and Weeds around the same time this episode premiered. Luke Perry and Sara Gilbert are also featured on this episode. Bowen’s character Gwen is married to Perry’s character Noah. He is a suspect in a cold case where Gilbert’s character was raped. It turns out the foster child that Gwen and Luke are taking care of is his actual son from a rape that had occurred eight years prior. This episode was the season ten premiere episode for Law and Order SVU

Sarah Hyland from Modern Family

Like her Modern Family co-stars, Sarah Hyland was also featured on Law and Order SVU. Hyland made two appearances on the show. The first was in 2001 when she was just 11 years old. In this season three premiere episode, a teenage girl recalls the molestation of her father after meeting with a therapist played by Shirley Knight. Hyland plays the teenage girl’s younger sister. The father of the family ends up being murdered for what he did, however it comes to light that the molestation never happened and the therapist was planting false memories in the young woman’s head. Hyland would play a child prodigy in her 2009 appearance on the drama. She ends up killing another intelligent girl in order to impress her mother. The detectives find out that she is taking drugs and is sleep deprived.

Hayden Panettiere from Nashville

Like Hyland. Hayden Panettiere made two appearance on Law and Order SVU. The first time was in 2001 during the second season of the drama. Panettiere played Ashley, a young girl who has a brother that is killed during the opening scene of the show. Ashley’s parents are both famous musicians and Benson and Stabler believe they are neglecting their children. Ashley becomes attached to Olivia, however; her parents issue a restraining order to keep the detective away. Panettiere would return four years later playing a girl named Angela. Her best friend is murdered and it is found out that she was a prostitute.

James Van Der Beek from Dawson’s Creek

2012 was the year that James Van Der Beek’s lowly rated, but critically acclaimed, comedy Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 premiered. It was also the year that Van Der Beek would make is appearance on Law and Order SVU. His character claims to have fathered many young girls and now wants to meet them. The girls end up becoming attracted to their “father” and begin to have a sexual relationship with him. It turns out the Van Der Beek’s character was only pretending to be the father in order to get back at a man who stole his college girlfriend away from him.

Melissa Joan Hart from Melissa & Joey

Melissa Joan Hart made a few television appearances in between the ending of her sitcom Sabrina, the Teenage Witch in 2003 and the beginning of her new sitcom Melissa & Joey in 2010. Once of these appearance was on a season nine episode of Law and Order SVU. Hart plays a teacher named Sarah, who has been accused of having sex with one of her teenage students. Sarah ends up getting pregnant and tries to have an abortion. The police think she is hiding evidence about the sexual assault. Benson and Stabler soon find out that Sarah is the victim and her young student was the one who attacked her.

Hilary Duff from Lizzie McGuire

Lizzie McGuire has been off the air for ten years, but Hilary Duff continues to star in movies and television shows. The young actress even made an appearance on a season 10 episode of Law and Order SVU. Duff plays a young irresponsible mother who Benson and Stabler believed killed her infant child. They soon find out that the child died from a measles outbreak and they track down the mother of the child who started it all because she refused to immunize him. However, Duff’s character is still to blame for burying her child and trying to cover it up.  Gail O’Gray plays Duff’s mother in this episode.

Who has been your favorite television actor to make a guest appearance on Law and Order SVU? Let us know in the comments section below.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ABC

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