Who are the most surprising guest stars that appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?

Riro - Contributor

Long-running TV shows are not that rare anymore. Fans of numerous original series know that stories and plots not only vary due to a creator's mind but also due to the audiences' response. While attaining longevity on television may not be that easy, NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is that one series that seems to have transitioned and moved with the times and the ever-changing dynamics of entertainment. The crime drama franchise came out in 1999 and since then, has created 21 seasons under its belt. It also now has almost 500 original episodes released, already surpassing the count for the pioneer Law & Order series. And throughout the duration of this police drama, a lot of your current and past favorite Hollywood names might have made an appearance or two somewhere within the show's timeline.

A television series that runs this long definitely could take its toll on viewers, especially the most avid ones. However, its creators have its ways of injecting surprise elements and unexpected twists to the story's plot to keep fans engaged. This includes having A-list actors and actresses take on amazing roles, whether they may be criminals, victims, or police officers. It is also noteworthy that some top names in the entertainment industry have made their acting debuts in SVU. If you are not so deep in the series, we may be a bit of help. Here are some of the most surprising guest stars that appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. You just might not believe to see some familiar names on the list.

  1. 1Ian Somerhalder


    When he appeared in SVU season 4 episode titled "Dominance", little did people might have known that Ian Somerhalder was bound to blow up in cult-favorite shows such as Lost and The Vampire Diaries. Fittingly, he did justice to his spree killer/sadist role as Charlie Baker, who happens to do disgusting things. Based on his performance on his guesting, fans were most likely convinced that this is what a real killer would look like. 

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  1. 2Adam Driver


    During a time when he still wasn't known as Kylo Ren or Charlie, Adam Driver made an appearance in Law & Order: SVU. In episode "Theatre Tricks", he played the role of a rapist by the name of Jason Roberts, despite him not looking like it at all. Despite him not being that big of an actor at that time, Adam's performance was surely believable and worthy of praise. 

  2. 3Robin Williams


    True Law & Order geeks will always remember Mr. Williams' portrayal of troubled character Merritt Rook during the 17th episode from Season 9. Despite his character in the show taking a far detour from his typical happy roles, the veteran actor undeniably fits the bill with his amazing and heartfelt acting. And by the way, he was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2008 for such portrayal. Enough said for a guest star.

  1. 4Sarah Paulson


    We know Sarah Paulson by way of her numerous roles and appearances in staple shows American Horror Story and American Gothic. However, the versatile actress did have her official acting debut during Law & Order's season 5 "Family Values" episode. Further, she came back in season 11 to take on the role of spoiled heiress and criminal, Anne Gillette. Her character's fate was just as surprising as her guesting, we suppose. 

  2. 5Whoopi Goldberg


    One of the more surprising yet believable guesting stints in Law & Order: SVU would have to be that of Whoopi Goldberg's. As she played overworked social worker Janette Grayson in season 17 episode "Institutional Fall", avid viewers got to see a realistic portrayal of a challenging character designed to make audiences feel sympathy. It is truly surprising that the veteran actress has graced the show with her presence with such a role. 


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