Question. If you’re a star on Law & Order: SVU, what do you get the boss for his birthday?
If you’re Ice-T, aka Fin Tutuola, you write a heartfelt message, post it on social media so that your 1 million followers will know how much you appreciate show creator Dick Wolf.
It’s Wolf’s 75th birthday. He’s probably creating another show to celebrate. We kid, but there still are a few nights of the network primetime schedule still not chock full of Wolf’s handiwork.
The Law & Order: SVU star posted a photo of the two of them from a swanky Beverly Hills gala. In the snap, the two are dressed up in suits and smiling. Ice-T captioned it: “Happy Birthday Dick Wolf! I’d like to personally thank Dick Wolf for Fn with me and giving me a guest spot on New York Undercover back when I was public enemy #1. The Country was trying to Blackball me, and nobody would touch me… 5 shows and over 27 yrs later.. Still in business thriving. My Sincere Respect.”
As Ice-T mentioned, Wolf did take a chance on him. Ice-T branched out into acting in the early 1990s, with his first big role playing a detective in the movie New Jack City. His first big TV role followed in 1995, when Wolf cast him as drug dealer Danny Cort, a recurring character, on New York Undercover.
When Wolf broadened his crime TV game beyond Law & Order, he added Ice-T for a story arc on new spinoff Law & Order: SVU. The original plan was for Ice-T to appear in four episodes of the series starting in 2000.
Now, the only actor more identified with Law & Order: SVU is Mariska Hargitay, who as Captain Olivia Benson, has starred in 504 episodes. Ice-T is sitting at 482 episodes and still counting.
“And here I am now on season 22,” Ice-T told Access Hollywood back in March. The show moved on to season 23 in September. “So I guess you say, ‘never say never.’ “
Ice-T said he stuck with Law & Order: SVU for a variety of basic reasons. “When people ask how I can be on a show for so long, I say, “It’s easy,” Ice-T said in an interview with TV Insider. “Everyone on the show is very cool, no one has harsh words and Dick Wolf’s checks clear, so it’s nice work.”
As for the checks, Ice-T reportedly earns $250,000 an episode. As a mainstay on Law & Order: SVU, Ice-T also has become part of our pop culture. He now has the record for playing the longest-running Black character in TV history. S. Epatha Merkerson had owned the record. She appeared on the original Law & Order for 17 seasons as Det. Anita Van Buren. Ice-T surpassed her in 2017.
“I played a cop on New Jack City, but I never thought I would be on television,” Ice-T told Paste Magazine. “Now I’m like the longest-running black male cop in history. Imagine that… and Ice T? How did that happen?”
He has his own talent to thank for the record. And he also singled out the other reason — Dick Wolf created the fabulous Law & Order: SVU.