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During the 12 seasons that "Law & Order: SVU" aired, many celebrities appeared on the show as guest stars. Some of these guest stars have had roles as the victim, the villain, or even as a special character meant to help the police officers of the 16th precinct put the villains behind bars. Many of these guest stars happen to be comedians or comic actors who stepped out of their usual funny roles for more dramatic ones. Here are the best three comics that have appeared on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," the episode they played in, and the role they took on:
John Ritter (1948-2003) as Dr. Richard Manning: Season 3, Episode 11 "Monogamy"In this episode of "Law & Order: SVU," a woman has been attacked and her unborn child has been taken from her, literally ripped out of her. Ritter who played Dr. Richard Manning is the woman's husband. At first he seems to be in deep shock about what has happened to his wife, but then he becomes a suspect after the detectives learn that his wife may have had an affair with a construction worker. Assistant District Attorney Alex Cabot takes the case to trial, but has to walk a very thin line to argue for a fetus' right to life without treading into the water of a woman's reproductive rights. Ritter's role is serious and dramatic. This is an episode worth watching repeats of.
Rhea Perlman as Roxana Fox: Season 9, Episode 13 "Unorthodox"Perlman is best known for her comedic role as Carla on the hit television show "Cheers," but her acting ability truly shined in a very serious episode of "SVU" when she took on the role of Roxana Fox. In this episode, she plays the mother of a young boy who has been sexually assaulted. All evidence points to the orthodox Jewish Rabbi who is close to the child. That is until other children start coming forward to say that they too had been victims of sexual assault and rape. A 14-year-old boy is discovered to be the rapist but he is not sent to prison instead he is sent to a mental health facility after his defense claims he is mentally ill after exposure to daily pornography. Perlman's role is heartfelt and believable. She plays the shocked, angered, protective, and sometimes crazy mother of the young victim. Not many could do it better.
Robin Williams as Merritt Root: Season 9, Episode 17 "Authority"Robin Williams has shown that he can be a dramatic actor. In this episode of "Law & Order: SVU," he puts his funny man style aside to take on the role of Merritt Root. The character is a gentleman who has been posing as a police officer and getting people to stick it to the man or oppose authority in some manner. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Christopher Meloni) become involved with Root after he makes a strip search prank phone call, which is where a restaurant is called by someone pretending to be a police officer and convinces the managers of the restaurant to strip search their female employees. The case becomes even more complicated when Root takes on the role of his own defense attorney and turns the courtroom into a media circus. Benson is taken hostage by Root in Grand Central Station after a performance by his followers who all stop whatever they were doing at the same time for a full minute. Stabler tracks down his partner and Root attempts an experiment on him showing Benson hooked up to electrical wiring and telling him to push the button to cause her harm. Stabler refuses and passes Root's test. However, when Benson and Root leave the building it's blown to bits. The detectives pursue Root but find that he has vanished into the river. Williams' role as Merritt Root is entertaining, dramatic, and poignant. It is definitely a repeat-worthy episode.
Other celebrities to look for throughout the "Law & Order: SVU" seasons include Carol Burnett, Lewis Black, Tracy Pollan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kathy Griffin, Eric Roberts, and many others.
- John Ritter
- Rhea Perlman
- sexually assaulted
- strip search