‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’ Alum Betty Gilpin Recalls Being Forgotten in a Body Bag on First Acting Job Ever

by Megan Molseed
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Taking on an early acting role starring as a dead body on a wildly popular series franchise is no doubt a daunting task at its best. Remaining still for hours at a time while shooting the scenes takes some super skill. And, doing all of this while enclosed in a body bag, while partially dressed makes the experience even more unsettling. But, what if these moments are compounded even more – and the showrunners forget to remove you from the body bag between takes? Well, this is exactly what happened to actress Betty Gilpin while guest-starring on one former Law & Order franchise addition, Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

“This is my first job ever,” Betty Gilpin recalls.

“I remember them zipping up the body bag,” the actress explains.

“Vincent D’Onofrio had like a grumbly scene over my body bag and I just had to sort of be in there,” Gilpin says. “And then they called cut, they were like, ‘That’s lunch, guys! Great day!’ And I hear like footsteps on gravel getting farther and farther away.”

Betty Gilpin remembers hearing vehicle doors closing as she was certain the Law & Order crew was going to leave her behind during the lunch hour. However, one on-the-ball production assistant made sure this didn’t happen to the new actress!

“Like 10 seconds goes by, I hear one far-away PA being like, ‘Oh my God,'” Gilpin remembers.

“Footsteps coming towards me, [body bag] unzips,” the Law & Order guest star adds. “Sunlight in my face!”

Betty Gilpin’s Terrifying On-Set ‘Law & Order’ Moment Is One She Can Laugh At Now – Years Later

Law & Order: Criminal Intent is the second spin-off series of the OG Law & Order show which premiered in 1990. Criminal Intent hit the airwaves in 2001; it was about five seasons in that Gilpin stepped in for her premiere role.

The actress recalls that her role includes being naked and sitting in an oil drum along Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers. The show’s star detective, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Detective Robert Goren was the one to discover her. Then, Gilpin is transferred to a body bag in a brief scene before the lunch break.

When remembering the harrowing moment she was left behind in the body bag, Gilpin recalls she was more terrified of something else: being dubbed as a “high maintenance” actress. However, this is far from what happened as she took her direction all the way, staying in the body bag well past the end of the take!

Betty Gilpen returned to the Law & Order spin-off series a few seasons later. This time she portrays an entirely different character. While she wasn’t stuck in a body bag for this role, she has another terrifying story to tell.

When Gilpin expressed concern over continuity within the series…after all, she’s already played a dead body…the showrunners told her not to worry. In fact, Gilpin says, the crew said simply that all is okay since “no one cares. No one remembers you.”

That may have been the case in the early days. However, Gilpin has moved on to a prolific career; starring in some of our favorite shows including the hit Netflix series, GLOW. Law & Order fans hoping to revisit the Criminal Intent days can catch the series streaming on Peacock.

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