‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Mariska Hargitay Explained Why Robin Williams Was Her Favorite Guest Star

by Matthew Memrick
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“Law & Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay said Robin Williams was by far her favorite guest star over the years.

Over 23 seasons and 504 episodes, Hargitay admits that she felt like being next to Williams was being “in the presence of true greatness.” The episode titled “Authority” ran on April 29, 2008. She talked about Williams to TVInsider back in 2018.

The episode centered around audio engineer Merritt Rook, played by Williams. Rook impersonates law enforcement and tells people to perform criminal acts. The character opposes authority due to a past tragic event, and he kidnaps main character Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). That act helps him order Lt. Eliot Stabler around, making the man inflict pain or watch him do it to others.

The show’s producers pulled out all the stops too. According to IMDb, they used an enlarged news article of Williams’ character in his hometown newspaper. The actual photo used was from the character’s childhood. 

Williams made out pretty good with the role. The People’s Choice Awards recognized him, giving him a Favorite Scene Stealing Guest Star nod. In addition to that award, he got a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama. 

‘Law & Order: SVU’ Had Lots Of Guest Star Award Winners

Though the plot was twisted and thrilling, Mariska Hargitay said it was the off-screen time with Williams that she’d remember. She also recalls longtime actor John Ritter’s appearance on a 2002 episode.

But that Williams appearance was special to her. First of all, Mariska Hargitay said the longtime actor played with her young son, August. She later learned a set photographer captured the peaceful moment. Secondly, Hargitay met her future husband, Peter Hermann, on the set. Hermann played the reoccurring role of defense attorney Trevor Langan on the show.

Notable actors Didi Conn, Adam Beech, and TV host Joe Scarborough also appeared in that episode.

According to IMDB, the story came from the stories of a few actual phone hoaxes. One, in particular, took place four years earlier. A person called a McDonald’s restaurant in Mount Washington, Ky., on April 9, 2004, and impersonated a police officer. That person got the restaurant staff to sexually abuse innocent people during interrogations over theft of company items. 

One Episode Hit Close to Home For Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay said one story got to her during the series. When her character Benson gets a family after being turned down for adoption, the story hits home. 

Years later, she ended up having a boy of her own in 2006. Mariska Hargitay’s family grew by two more children in 2011 when she adopted another boy and girl.

Over the years, five guest stars (Ann Margret, Ellyn Burstyn, Cynthia Nixon, Leslie Caron) won Emmy Awards. Eleven more, including Williams, were nominated. 

Outsider.com