‘Law & Order: SVU’: Why Marlee Matlin’s Role Didn’t Get More Buzz

by Leanne Stahulak

Let’s be clear: “Law & Order: SVU” has featured its fair share of breakthrough stars and Hollywood legends. But how often do Oscar winners make a multiple-episode stint on the show?

One such star was none other than Marlee Matlin, an Academy-Award winner from 1987. She took home the Best Actress in a Leading Role award for her performance in “Children of a Lesser God.” The film was her first acting credit ever, and it led her to become the first deaf actress to win the award.

From there, Matlin starred in films and TV shows like “Reasonable Doubts,” “The West Wing,” “ER,” “Seinfeld,” “Picket Fences,” “The L Word,” and “Quantico.” She also recently appeared in the Oscar-winning film “CODA,” where fellow deaf star Troy Kutsur won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

And yet, if you ask Looper, Matlin’s role in “Law & Order: SVU” doesn’t get nearly enough buzz. Her role tends to be looked over, even though she appeared an entire season apart in 2004 and 2005. Perhaps that’s because her character, Dr. Amy Solwey, is as complicated as they come.

Solwey is an in-vitro fertilization specialist suffering from a genetic disorder called Alport’s syndrome, which has left her deaf since birth. Eventually, it causes kidney failure for her, which “Law & Order: SVU” addresses in one of its episodes. Solwey’s condition causes her to start a blog about suicidal thoughts called “Catching the Train.” During the episode, she actually helps one person commit suicide and struggles with the consequences.

Detective John Munch helps her process her guilt and the two become close. But in the second episode, she faces death after offering up a kidney meant for her to a little boy.

Perhaps Marlee Matlin didn’t receive as much recognition for her role as Amy Solwey because the episodes are spaced so far apart. But there’s no doubt that she absolutely kills it in the role and provides a complex addition to the show.

Here are Other famous Guest Stars You Might Have Seen on ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Marlee Matlin is only one famous star you might recognize from “Law & Order: SVU.” Luckily for us, Wolf Entertainment compiled a list of several key stars and celebrities that appeared on the show.

TV personality Carol Burnett once appeared on an episode, as a dancer caught up in a triple-homicide. We’ve also seen Alec Baldwin, Elizabeth Banks, and Bradley Cooper. Viola Davis has had repeat appearances in up to seven episodes. Adam Driver appeared in one, as did Hilary Duff and Whoopi Goldberg. Terrence Howard and Jeremy Iron enjoyed one-episode stints, same as John Ritter.

The rapper Ludacris appeared in two episodes, like Marlee Matlin. He played a relative of Ice-T’s character. Amanda Seyfried guest-starred in one episode, just like Martin Short and Martha Stewart. Sharon Stone, on the other hand, played a role in four episodes.

And finally, we have Robin Williams, Snoop Dogg, and Serena Williams. Who’s been your favorite guest star, “Law & Order: SVU” fans?