In this world, three things are certain: death, taxes, and a new season of Law & Order: SVU every fall. For more than 20 years, the dedicated detectives who investigate vicious (fictional) felonies in New York City have enthralled fans with their ceaseless quest for justice.
From Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) to Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) to Fin Tutuola (Ice-T), the series has its fair share of mainstays. Mariska Hargitay has appeared in virtually every episode for 23 seasons!
The only thing potentially more impressive than Mariska Hargitay’s tenure with the show? The sheer number of guest stars that have appeared over the years.
Countless actors have graced the set of SVU across its two dozen seasons, from the most seasoned stars to those still trying to get their foot in the door of Hollywood. Law & Order has so many guests, in fact, that it’s a common opinion among actors that the franchise is a rite of passage of sorts for budding stars.
Just to put a number on it, let’s say there’s a single guest star per episode – which, by the way, is a gross underestimation. That would mean that there have been over 500 guest stars on SVU since its premiere in the fall of 1999.
‘Law & Order: SVU’ Fans Name Their Favorite Guest Stars
Law & Order: SVU fans are dedicated – so dedicated, that they can name their favorite showrunner at the drop of a hat. But with hundreds of guest stars to choose from, even the most ardent Law & Order fan would have a difficult time picking just one.
So, in a recent discussion of their favorites on Reddit, they had to narrow it down to recurring guest stars. In other words, those who have appeared more than once.
The most popular answer by far was Sister Peg (Charlayne Woodard), a Catholic nun who appeared in eight episodes across six seasons. Like many Law & Order characters, Peg’s story ended in tragedy.
Her tireless efforts to help those struggling with addiction and homelessness eventually results in her death, but not before the selfless character won the hearts of SVU fans everywhere. “[Sister Peg] had true compassion without judgment,” one fan wrote. “She helped sinners even if she knew they would keep sinning. She should have had a better end.”
Two more popular guest stars among fans are Andre Braugher, who plays defense attorney Bayard Ellis, and Marcia Gay Harden, who appeared in SVU as FBI Agent Dana Lewis on four occasions.
“Andre Braugher is amazing and plays a GREAT attorney,” one fan wrote. “He is an incredible actor. I’ve loved this dude ever since he was on Homicide,” another added.