Since 1999, the detectives of the Special Victims Unit in the NYPD’s 16th Precinct has been chasing those who commit sexually based offenses. The show hits a milestone this week with its 300th episode. Along the way, they’ve also brought on memorable guest stars to tell the stories. Here’s a look back on several of them. Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9pm on NBC.
She’s been on SVU twice — in season two’s “Baby Killer,” she played the mother of a boy who is a murder suspect. In season four’s “Chameleon,” she was a prostitute who helped detectives investigate another prostitute’s death.
Just 11 during her memorable first role back in season two’s “Abuse,” she went from sweet and innocent child to disturbing. Then in season six’s “Escape”, her character murders her best friend to cover up her own secret sex tape.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Elizabeth Banks
As a married couple in the season three episode “Sacrifice,” they appeared in porn in order pay for their daughter’s medical bills. But when their porn producer would up dead, who killed him — and why?
In season three’s “Monogamy”, he played the husband and also the suspect of a woman whose unborn baby was taken through a primitive cesarean section.
He guest starred in season three, “Prodigy,” as a sociopath who decapitated animals as a hobby and became a suspect after an animals rights activist was murdered.
In the season three episode “Greed,” he was a grieving husband who found his wife raped and murdered or was he the actual killer?
Frank Langella, Ian Somerhalder and Jason Ritter
Langella gave a stirring and heartbreaking performance as the father of two sons, played by Somerhalder and Ritter, in season four’s “Dominance.”
As a rape suspect in the season four episode “Futility,” Savage’s character defended himself, causing trouble for the prosecution.
Abigail Breslin and Lea Thompson
In season six, “Birthright,” Breslin was a 6-year-old girl caught in a custody fight between her biological mother and her birth mother, played by Thompson.
She portrayed a teenager in season six, “Outcry,” who claimed to have been raped by three students but her story started to unravel and she eventually took back her story.
He played a grieving father in the season six episode “Conscience,” who killed a sociopathic child who murdered his son after finding out the child would get out of jail at 18, leaving him free to kill again.
The comedian in the season six episode “Pure,” played a character who claimed to be a psychic — but was actually a twisted serial virgin rapist.
Alfred Molina, Angela Lansbury and Bradley Cooper
These three guest starred in season six, “Night,” and also the Law and Order: Trial by Jury crossover episode “Day.” Molina played a computer programmer with Asperger’s Syndrome who was accused in the rapes of illegal immigrants. Lansbury was the overprotective mother and Cooper, the sleazy family attorney. Dean Cain
As a surgeon who controlled the women in his life in the season seven episode “Starved,” he fought to unplug the feeding tube of his wife after she committed suicide.
He portrayed Finn’s trouble making nephew in season seven, “Venom.” When he later went on trial in season eight, “Screwed,” he dug up dirt on all the detectives, which he used against them– and succeeded.
She played a bipolar girl in the season seven episode “Influence” who accused two classmates of rape and killed someone in a car crash after attempting suicide.
He was unrecognizable in a dramatic but memorable performance in season eight, “Uncle,” as a homeless man brought in for questioning in the latest rape and murder who actually turned out to be Munch’s uncle with dementia.
She played a troubled foster child in season eight, “Cage,” who tried to murder Detective Beck and also tried to commit suicide.
In the season eight episode “Choreographed,” he took on the role of a husband who wasn’t all that he seemed after a friend wound up dead.
He played a former drug addict whose wife accused him of rape in the season eight episode “Burned.” The detectives didn’t know who to believe.
She brilliantly portrayed a woman in season nine, “Alternate,” as someone with four alternate personalities that in the end was all an elaborate act.
Melissa Joan Hart
Playing a high school teacher in season nine, “Impulsive,” she was accused of statutory rape after one of her students got gonorrhea. But the student turned out to be a sex addict who confessed to raping her.
In the 200th episode of the series, season nine’s “Authority,” Williams’ portrayal of a killer who defied authority earned him an Emmy nomination.
Julie Bowen and Luke Perry
The two played foster parents accused of bribing their son to do abusive medical testing in the season 10 episode, “Trials.”
Her Emmy-winning role in the season 10 episode “Swing” saw her as Elliott’s estranged, bipolar mother.
As Stabler’s old mentor who helped the detectives in the season 10 episode “Lunacy,” suspicion soon fell on him in the death of a famous astronaut.
Carol Burnett and Matthew Lillard
Both were riveting as she played a former Rockette and he was her nephew helping a murder investigation in season 10 “Ballerina.” But the suspicion soon fell on them instead.
He portrayed the CEO of a dating website in season 11 “Sugar” who had emotionally abused and neglected his daughter for years.
In the season 11 episode “Hammered,” his character couldn’t remember the events of the night before after waking up with a dead woman in his bed.
As a lesbian activist in season 11, “P.C.,” members of her rights group started getting attacked, and she soon became a target as well.
She played a prostitute in season 11, “Savior,” who turned to Olivia for help.
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Her character in season 12, “Behave,” said the same man raped her for 15 years and she lived in terror but then recanted her story.
Marcia Gay Harden
As an FBI agent in the season 12 episode “Penetration,” she guest starred as a rape victim who refused help because she thought she’d be taken off her latest undercover assignment.
In the season 12 episode “Pursuit,” she was a no-nonsense TV journalist bringing down child predators but started receiving threats of her own.
He played the charming businessman who also was grossly creepy, as he liked impregnating women -fathering 47 kids- in season 12 “Bang”.
She guest starred in the season 12 episode “Delinquent” as the distraught mother of a twisted teen who claimed Stabler abused him while in custody.
(images courtesy of NBC)