‘NCIS’ Star Emily Wickersham Once Guest Starred on a ‘Law & Order’ Spinoff

by John Jamison

“NCIS” fans were shocked recently when they heard of Emily Wickersham’s departure from the show. Since 2013, she has played Ellie Bishop. Bishop is a former NSA analyst who joined the Major Case Response Team led by Leroy Gibbs.

Now, Wickersham is headed for greener pastures. Though, she had only good things to say about her time on “NCIS.” But back when she was still cutting her teeth on smaller parts in shows and movies, she did that thing that oh so many New York actors do. She appeared in an episode of “Law & Order.”

There have been a mindboggling number of opportunities for actors via the Dick Wolf-produced procedurals. Between all of the “Law & Order” spin-offs, there have easily been thousands of episodes. But who’s going to play all of the one-off parts that appear in any given episode?

Well, predominantly New York-based actors in the early stages of their careers. Like Wickersham, “Blue Bloods” star Abigail Hawk appeared on a few episodes when she was first starting out.

Emily Wickersham joined the storied “Law & Order” ranks when she appeared as a character named Ceci Madison on a 2009 episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” titled “Major Case.”

It saw Jeff Goldblum’s Detective Nichols go after the head of the crime lab. And Wickersham’s journey after appearing in the episode wasn’t a straight shot to “NCIS.” She continued playing small parts in shows and movies for a few years.

In 2013, she landed the role of Ellie Bishop on “NCIS.” Over the past eight years, Wickersham’s acting career has solely consisted of the show. She made a single appearance as the same character on “NCIS: New Orleans.”

‘Law & Order’ Has Launched a Startling Number of A-List Acting Careers, the ‘NCIS’ Star Could be Among Them

One generally doesn’t associate crime procedurals with the greatest acting talent on Earth. That’s not to take anything away from these shows or their cast members. They do fantastic work that is loved by millions. But the crossover from TV into movies is notoriously hard, no matter what show you happen to be working on.

Interestingly, “Law & Order” boasts an amazing track record. The number of current A-list actors who got their start on the Dick Wolf shows may surprise you.

Among the talented actors are Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Chastain, John Krasinski, and Zoe Saldana appeared on versions of the series before they made it big. And that’s only to name a few.

Similar to “NCIS,” “Law & Order” provides a platform for aspiring actors to show what they’re made of. Even if the role only lasts an episode or two, the dramatic nature of the shows makes for good material that they can try to leverage later on.

Even with an appearance on “Law & Order,” it’s difficult to make an A-list career in Hollywood. But maybe Emily Wickersham has what it takes.