"Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" has seen a lot of famous faces through the years. Considering the cast members who've made careers on the series (like star Mariska Hargitay, who plays Lt. Olivia Benson) to the superstars who've made guest appearances way before they were household names, it might actually be easier to list who hasn't been on the show! In honor of the crime drama's return to our television screens on Nov. 12, 2020, for its 22nd season, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at some of the many celebrities who've done stints on the show. Keep reading for more…
Before he starred on the hit shows "Heroes" and "This Is Us," Milo Ventimiglia landed a role on "Law and Order: SVU." In 2003 on the 11th episode of season 5, which was titled "Escape," Milo played Lee Healy, a supposed victim of sexual abuse who is revealed to have been involved with his cousin.
Well before she earned a 2020 Golden Globe Award for best supporting actress in a limited series or movie for her performance on "The Act," Patricia Arquette appeared on the season 14 episode of "Law and Order: SVU" titled "Dreams Deferred." She portrayed Jeannie, a prostitute who is kidnapped by a suspicious and dangerous client.
A young Sarah Hyland played Jennifer Banks on the season 3 premiere of "Law and Order: SVU." The episode was titled "Hothouse," and Sarah's character was a suspect in the murder of her roommate. Spoiler alert: Jennifer was responsible — she pushed her roommate into a river and the girl drowned.
Bradley Cooper appeared on episode 20 of season 6 of "Law and Order: SVU," which was titled "Night." The actor played estate lawyer Jason Whitaker way back in 2005. His character was the defense attorney for a man accused of being a serial rapist.
Co-starring alongside Bradley Cooper on that same 2005 episode? Angela Lansbury, who made an appearance on season 6, episode 20 as a conniving and wealthy mother who pays off Bradley's lawyer character in an effort to keep him from sharing the truth about her son, a suspected serial rapist.
Back in 2002, Rainn Wilson played a janitor on a season 4 episode of "Law and Order: SVU" titled "Waste."
A young Kate Mara can be spotted on season 2, episode 9 of "Law and Order: SVU." The 2001 episode, which was called "Pixies," had Kate playing a young gymnast named Lori who ended up being a murderer.
You can catch John Stamos on season 12 of "Law and Order: SVU." He played Ken Turner, a big-shot attorney and "reproductive abuser" on episode 22, which was titled "Bang."
Guest starring on this show isn't just for actors! Miranda Lambert's sole television acting credit happens to be on an episode of "Law and Order: SVU." The country crooner appeared on a season 13 episode in 2012 titled "Father's Shadow." She played a rape victim named Lacey Ford.
On episode 18 — titled "Criminal Stories" — of season 15 of "Law and Order: SVU," Alec Baldwin played Jimmy MacArthur, a powerful newspaper columnist who controls New York City's authorities. The episode also marked star Mariska Hargitay's directorial debut!
A young Amanda Seyfried made an appearance back in 2004 on season 6, episode 5 of "Law and Order: SVU" titled "Outcry." She played a character named Tandi McCain, a student who was raped.
Way before he starred on "The Vampire Diaries," Ian Somerhalder appeared on "Law and Order: SVU." The future vamp landed a role on an episode titled "Dominance," which saw him playing Charlie Baker, a murderer, rapist and kidnapper.
At just 8, Abigail Breslin landed a role on "Law and Order: SVU." On the season 6 premiere episode called "Birthright," the young actress played Patty Branson, a 6-year-old abducted in Central Park.
A few years after wrapping up her iconic role as legal eagle Miranda Hobbes on "Sex and the City," Cynthia Nixon appeared on a 2007 episode of "Law and Order: SVU" titled "Alternate." In the season 9 episode, Cynthia played Janis Donovan, a woman with dissociative identity disorder who was accused of harming her daughter but later found not guilty due to her mental disability.
Martha Stewart got in on the "Law and Order: SVU" action during season 13. The lifestyle guru appeared on episode 22, which was titled "Learning Curve," as a character named Eleanor Hastings. That particular show chronicled a series of hate crimes.
In 2010, a few years after Mischa Barton wrapped up her starring role on "The O.C.," she made a one-episode appearance during season 11 of "Law and Order: SVU." Mischa played Gladys Dalton, a former prostitute who left Olivia Benson in charge of her premature baby.
The one and only Mike Tyson made an appearance on "Law and Order: SVU" in 2013. On a season 14 episode called "Monster's Legacy," Mike played Reggie Rhodes, a convicted murderer and death row inmate.
Before he ever played Olivia Pope's sometime love interest Jake Ballard on "Scandal," Scott Foley played Dalton Rindell — a man who wakes up in a bloody apartment with a dead woman in his bed — on a 2009 "Law and Order: SVU" episode.
Chloe Sevigny made her "Law and Order: SVU" appearance on season 13's episode 18, which was titled "Valentine's Day." She played Christine Hartwell, a woman who claimed that she was attacked and abducted while video chatting her husband. However, her innocence is compromised when information surrounding an affair is revealed.
At 12, Keke Palmer took on the role of Tasha Wright on a season 7 episode of "Law and Order: SVU" titled "Storm." In the episode, Keke's character loses her whole family during Hurricane Katrina and finds herself in New York City.
Chris "Ludacris" Bridges appeared not once but twice on "Law and Order: SVU." Both times — in 2006 and 2007 — Luda played Darius Parker, a relative of detective Odafin Tutuola. Darius ends up being one of the bad guys, a man who murdered a woman and her infant son because he believed the woman to be a bad mother.
Zoe Saldana appeared on the "Law and Order: SVU" season 5 episode called "Criminal." She portrayed Gabrielle Vega, the daughter of a convicted murderer who was framed for the crime as a teenager.
Elle Fanning made her "Law and Order: SVU" debut on season 8's episode 8, which was titled "Cage." The actress played Eden, a foster child who was found in a van driven into the river.
Back in 2002, long before he took on the role of Phil Dunphy on "Modern Family," Ty Burrell turned up on "Law and Order: SVU." The actor played Alan Messinger on an episode titled "Execution" that told the story of a man about to be put to death.
Like her on-screen "Modern Family" hubby, Julie Bowen also popped up on a "Law and Order: SVU" episode prior to becoming a Dunphy. Julie played Gwen Sibert on a 2008 episode titled "Trials" during the show's 10th season.
Back in 2009, Hilary Duff appeared on episode 19 of season 10, which was titled "Selfish," as Ashlee Walker, a young and irresponsible mother whose daughter dies.
James Van Der Beek as a sexual predator? The actor played Sean Albert on a season 13 "Law and Order: SVU" episode titled "Father Dearest." The particularly disturbing episode chronicled Sean's quest to rape girls who'd been conceived with the sperm of his rival.
Way back in 2001, Elizabeth Banks popped up on the small screen during a season 3 episode of "Law and Order: SVU" titled "Sacrifice." Elizabeth played Jaina Jansen, the wife of a sexual assault victim who killed her boss in what she claimed was self-defense.
"Law and Order: SVU" landed Serena Williams for a guest appearance back in 2004. The tennis superstar made a cameo on season 5, episode 12 playing the role of Chloe Spiers during a show about a fraternity.
Robin Williams appeared on season 9's episode 17, which was titled "Authority." On this — the series' 200th episode — the Oscar winner portrayed anti-authoritarian activist Merritt Rook, who kidnaps Olivia Benson.
Jennette McCurdy made her "Law and Order: SVU" debut at 12 on an episode titled "Contagious" during the show's sixth season. Young Jennette played Holly Purcell, a 9-year-old who survived a car accident and was raped.
Dave Navarro took a turn as a "Law and Order: SVU" guest star in 2013. The rocker played Mr. Ferrari on a season 14 show that chronicled a pop star being beaten by her boyfriend.
In 2006, Brittany Snow made her "Law and Order: SVU" debut on season 7's episode 22, which was titled "Influence." Brittany played Jamie Hoskins, a 16-year-old who was a suspect in the death of a former student.
Kathy Griffin played Babs Duffy, the leader of a militant lesbian-rights group, on a 2010 episode of "Law and Order: SVU" called "P.C."
Jennifer Love Hewitt appeared on one episode of "Law and Order: SVU" in 2010 during the show's 12th season. On the ep titled "Behave," Jennifer played Vicki Sayers, a woman who'd been raped.
Coco Austin made a season 9 appearance on husband Ice-T's show in the role of Traci Bell. The episode, which was titled "Fight," centered around two brothers connected to a murder investigation.