‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Mariska Hargitay Studied in Kathy Griffin’s Improv Class, Had a Disastrous Trust Exercise

by Joe Rutland
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Imagine being future “Law & Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay and being a student in an improvisation class taught by comedian Kathy Griffin.

Well, that’s what happened back in the 1990s according to an article from Movieline. Griffin was a performer and teacher at the Groundlings theater company in Los Angeles. Hargitay, years before she would play Olivia Benson on the NBC crime drama, was a student.

Griffin recalled a disastrous experience involving Hargitay in Griffin’s autobiography, “Official Book Club Selection.”

“I have deep shame, though, about one of my charges, a young Mariska Hargitay,” Griffin wrote. “This was before the beautiful Mariska would go on to achieve Emmy fame on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. We started class, and in the Groundlings curriculum, one of the first exercises you do is the cliched ‘trust’ game.”

‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Wasn’t Protected In Trust Fall Experience

Griffin wrote she made her students stand in a circle with herself in the center. The comedian wrote, “Being on-stage, you have to trust your fellow actors, especially when you’re an improviser.” She wrote that a fellow actor will be there for you. Griffin then said she was going to fall backward and know that the class members will catch her.

Well, Griffin fell backward and was caught. Other students took their turns, then it came around to Hargitay.

“‘Okay, Mariska, cross your arms in front of you and gently fall back,'” Griffin wrote that she said to the future “Law & Order: SVU” star. “She [Hargitay] fell back and nobody caught her. She fell flat on her ass. I was horrified. This had never happened in one of my classes before.”

Griffin wrote in her autobiography that no one wanted to do the trust exercise after Hargitay. “Nobody trusted anybody,” she wrote. “It was a terrible way to start that class.”

In 2011, the comedian appeared in a “Law & Order: SVU” episode called “P.C.” Griffin played an abrasive militant leader of a lesbian rights group.

Show’s Star Offered Words of Praise For Returning Co-Star Ellen Burstyn

While Griffin has not been back on “Law & Order: SVU” since that episode, another former co-star will be returning. Hargitay offered words of support for Ellen Burstyn.

Deadline announced that Burstyn would be a part of “Law & Order: Organized Crime” during the show’s second season on NBC. She’ll appear in an episode later in the season.

Burstyn portrayed Stabler’s mother, Bernadette Stabler, about 13 years ago on “Law & Order: SVU.” That role earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

Hargitay shared a selfie on Instagram on Aug. 5 with Burstyn. “The one, the only, Ellen Burstyn,” she wrote alongside a heart emoji. That gave “SVU” fans a little inside scoop.

Outsider.com