‘Law & Order: SVU’: Paula Patton Ditched Series After One Episode for Major Action Movie

by Josh Lanier

Paula Patton thought her big break came when she scored a role on Law & Order: SVU. But she walked away from the show after one episode when she landed a role in one of the biggest movie franchises ever.

Chances are you don’t remember Paula Patton from Law & Order: SVU. She played Assistant District Attorney Mikka Von for a single episode. That’s because shortly before filming began, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol producers asked to do a screen test. It was the fourth installment of the series. It’s best known for Tom Cruise hanging off the side of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. She won the role and left the NBC procedural. The movie was a major success, raking in almost $700 million worldwide at the box office, and it launched Patton’s movie career.

Law & Order: SVU producers had no hard feelings about her walking away from the show.

“Right before Paula started her first episode — which she’s shooting right now — she was offered a test for Mission: Impossible: 4,” showrunner Neal Baer told TV Guide at the time. “We had a contract, but I don’t want to stand in someone’s career path if they’re going to be in a huge feature film with Tom Cruise. So when she got that role, we recast ours.”

Melissa Sagemiller replaced Patton on Law & Order. But she also didn’t last long on the popular series. She only appeared in 10 episodes as A.D.A. Gillian Hardwicke, according to IMDb.

Original ‘Law & Order’ Returns to NBC for Season 21

NBC will bring back Law & Order 11 years after the network canceled the beloved procedural show. Show creator Dick Wolf called the revival a “dream come true” last week. The network didn’t set a date for the show’s return, but TV analysts expect Law & Order will be back in 2022.

“There are very few things in life that are literally dreams come true,” Wolf said in a press release. “This is mine.”

NBC killed the flagship of its biggest franchise in 2010, citing low ratings, NY Daily News said. But fans have called for its return ever since. Law & Order started in 1990 and launched a franchise that spawned several spinoffs such as Law & Order: SVU, which created its own spinoffs.

It’s unclear which characters from the original show will return. NBC said it is in talks with several key former cast members, but the network did not release any names. Deadline reported that Sam Waterston, who played District Attorney Jack McCoy, is at the top of the producers’ wishlist. He has said in the past he wanted to revisit the character.

When NBC wanted to create a Law & Order mini-series in 2015. Chris Noth and Waterston were both in talks to reprise their roles. But the network killed that idea early in development.

Rick Eid, a longtime collaborator of Wolf’s who worked on Chicago P.D., will act as showrunner for the reboot.