‘Law & Order: SVU’: Elizabeth Mitchell Recalls Working Alongside Mariska Hargitay

by Suzanne Halliburton

Elizabeth Mitchell is that rare actress who appeared as two different Law & Order: SVU characters. She portrayed both murderer and victim really well.

But that’s what we’d expect from one of the best character actors working on TV today. Maybe you don’t recognize her name. That’s cool, because you acknowledge you’ve seen her before, whether it was as Dr. Juliet Burke, the beautiful and calming girlfriend of Sawyer, on Lost. Lately, you probably spotted her as a rogue agent on FBI: International.

Elizabeth Mitchell was part of the Lost cast. Her first part on Law & Order: SVU was three years before the Lost premiere. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In First Law & Order: SVU Episode, Prosecutors Charged Mitchell for Killing Terminally Ill Baby

But let’s talk specifically about Law & Order: SVU, the longest-running network TV show on air today. Mitchell says she loved working with Mariska Hargitay, who has portrayed Olivia Benson for all 517 episodes.

Her first appearance on Law & Order: SVU was way back on Jan. 31, 2003. Mitchell still was three years away from landing her part on Lost. She portrayed Andrea Brown. The episode called “Mercy” opened as the police pulled a cooler from the river. The body of a one-month-old baby was inside. The baby girl suffered from Tay-Sachs disease, a genetic disorder passed along from the parents. And in this case, investigators revealed an affair between Andrea Brown and another man.

The SVU prosecutors contended that Andrea Brown murdered her baby to conceal her affair. Brown testified that she killed the baby, pushing her pediatrician to help in a loosely-defined assisted suicide.

Meanwhile, Viola Davis, who was then a recurring character on Law & Order: SVU, stepped in as Brown’s defense attorney. The jury convicted her of second-degree murder.

Offscreen, Mitchell applauded Hargitay.

“Mariska’s the best lead I can think of,” Mitchell told Looper in a May interview. “She is kind, she is smart, she is absolutely 100% ready to go. Watching her and the way that she runs her set is a real joy.”

A year after Lost ended, Mitchell again played a part on Law & Order: SVU. And she also played an abusive mother. The episode — “Totem”” — aired March 31, 2011. Again, Mitchell came away impressed with Hargitay.

“[Mariska] creates a very warm environment when you’re backstage or in your dressing room,” she said. “I remember, I was there with my younger son, and she was playing with him on the floor, and took us bowling. [It was] such a lovely, warm environment, even with all the hard stuff that happens on screen.”

Mitchell appears in FBI: International (Nelly Kiss ©2022)

Mitchell Portrays Compelling Recurring Character on FBI: International

Mitchell’s last TV appearance came last month in the season one finale of FBI: International. Like the Law & Order franchise, Dick Wolf also does three FBI shows for NBC’s Tuesday’s primetime. She appeared in three episodes as Angela Cassidy, mother of Scott Forrester, the supervisory special agent.