Ice-T has appeared in 456 episodes of Law & Order: SVU, which is only second to star Mariska Hargitay. But the rapper-turned-actor was wary to take the role when he learned who was producing the show — for a particularly peculiar reason.
Dick Wolf has made an obscene amount of money producing massively successful procedurals for NBC and now CBS. But despite that, Ice-T couldn’t get past his name when the rapper was first approached about a role on Law & Order: SVU, he told Vice.
“A dangerous person,” Ice-T said was his first thought when hearing Wolf’s name. “Wolves and d*cks are dangerous. The man matches up to his name. When you meet him, he’s a big guy. He looks like he’d sit at the head of a table at a mob meeting or something. He’s very serious. Thank god for Dick Wolf. His checks clear, I don’t have nothin’ to say bad about that guy. In this business, if you have one powerful executive that likes you, he can basically help your life. Dick Wolf has bought me a lot of cars, paid for a lot of vacations… I ain’t mad at the dude.”
It would be hard to imagine Law & Order: SVU without T’s Detective Fin Tutuola, who often acts as the audience surrogate. But if anything, Dick Wolf should have been more worried about working with Ice-T.
Ice-T, whose real name is Tracy Marrow, was the subject of immense public scrutiny after he performed the song “Cop Killer” with his heavy metal band Body Count in 1992. President George Bush even condemned the song and Ice-T personally. So, to think that a decade later he would be playing a police officer is almost unbelievable. But Wolf had a plan that Ice-T could get behind.
“When Dick Wolf put me on the show, he said, “‘Ice, you don’t like the cops, do you?’ I said, ‘Not all of ‘em. I ain’t got problems. Some of ‘em are cool.’ He said, ‘You admit we need ‘em.’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Well, play the cop we need.’ So that’s what you’re really seeing,” he told Vice. “It’s kinda like, if I was a cop, that’s how I’d act. The thing about being on SVU is we’re going after child molesters and rapists. So I’m not bustin’ anybody in the gray area. I’m bustin’ real scum. They don’t even like them in prison. So if I gotta play a cop, lemme be an SVU detective.”
Dick Wolf Has Built An Empire With ‘Law & Order’
Dick Wolf started his tenure in television on shows like Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice. But it was the smash success of Law & Order that made him the rare producer who is also a household name.
Since Law & Order launched in 1990, he’s produced a number of spin-offs for NBC including SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime. He also has his Chicago franchise that includes Chicago: P.D. and Chicago: Fire among others. Now, he also has hits on CBS with his series of FBI branded shows.