30 celebrities you probably forgot played bad guys on 'Law and Order: SVU'
"Law and Order: SVU" has had many special guests over the years. ABC
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" had many prominent guest stars during its long run.
Elizabeth Banks, Carol Burnett, and Sarah Paulson all played murderers in the crime thriller.
Other prominent guest villains include Henry Winkler, Robin Williams, and Hilary Duff.
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Kate Mara played a gymnast with a murderous secret.
Kate Mara appeared on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
Long before she starred in Netflix's "House of Cards" and FX's "Pose", Kate Mara played a character who committed a particularly heinous crime in season two, episode nine of "SVU".
She played Lori, a teenage gymnast responsible for killing a fellow student in hopes of snagging a spot on an elite gymnastics team.
Elizabeth Banks played a murderess.
Elizabeth Banks on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
Now famous for roles such as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games, Elizabeth Banks took on her SVU role in the early years of her career.
She starred in season three, episode seven as Jaina, the pornstar wife of an adult actor who is caught for killing the nefarious producer behind her career.
Henry Winkler played a husband who stole money from his wife.
Henry Winkler on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
Since becoming known as Fonz on ABC's "Happy Days," Henry Winkler has drawn into comedic roles - such as his recurring role on Fox / Netflix's "Arrested Development" and his supporting role on HBO's "Barry".
But in season 3, episode 20, he switched to the dark side as a businessman and husband of a rape victim who, it was later discovered, had forged his identity in order to cheat his wife out of her money.
David Harbor played a kidnapper.
David Harbor on "Law and Order: SVU". Hulu
In his very first acting credit long before he started "Stranger Things" on Netflix, David Harbor played a complicated criminal on season four, episode seven of "SVU".
His character, Terry Jessup, was a troubled abuse victim whose own trauma played a role in his decision to kidnap and attack young girls.
Ian Somerhalder's character was a versatile criminal.
Ian Somerhalder on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
Season 4, episode 20, featured a prominent guest cast including Josh Ritter, Frank Langella and The Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder.
Somerhalder played Charlie, a mega-offender who was guilty of murder, rape and theft several times in the very intense episode.
Fred Savage played a serial rapist.
Fred Savage on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
As a child, Fred Savage starred in the hit ABC drama "The Wonder Years".
After completing the series and beginning his adult career, Savage starred in season four, episode 22 of "SVU".
His character, Michael Gardner, was a serial rapist who chose to represent himself in court, much to the chagrin of Assistant District Attorney Alex Cabot.
Jane Krakowski played a jealous sister.
Jane Krakowski on "Law and Order: SVU". Hulu
When she made a cameo on SVU, Jane Krakowski had extensive television experience after spending five years in a supporting role in Fox's "Ally McBeal".
In 2004, she played Emma, a sister who was always jealous of her twin brother, leading to her being suspected of his (and other) murder in season 5, episode 23.
Martin Short took on the role of a malicious clairvoyant.
Martin Short starred in "Law and Order: SVU". YouTube / twentythreesix
Comical superstar Martin Short seemed to be having a lot of fun playing the sixth season antagonist on SVU.
In episode 18, he played Sebastian Ballentine, a clairvoyant who offers his services to the SVU crew while they investigate the rape and kidnapping of a teenage girl. But his offer turns out to be anything but innocent.
Hayden Panettiere's character murdered a doctor.
Hayden Panettiere appeared on Law and Order: SVU more than once. ABC
Prior to starring in Bring It On: All or Nothing and NBC's Heros, Hayden Panettiere appeared on two separate episodes of SVU.
She played a young victim in season two, but in season six, episode 15, her character was less innocent. Panettiere's character Angela was friends with the episode's victim, Lisa.
Although it turned out she did not kill the episode's original victim, Angela was linked to the murder of the doctor treating Lisa for HIV.
Lynda Carter played a character who cheated on people to get rich.
Lynda Carter on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
Lynda Carter has become an icon portraying Wonder Woman. But her guest role in season seven, episode two, was anything but a hero.
Instead, her character, Lorraine Dillon, worked with her daughter to calm and sexually assault wealthy men in order to get pregnant (and get rich from the situation).
Michael K. Williams played a pimp.
Michael K. Williams on "Law and Order: SVU". Hulu
Famous for his roles on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and "The Wire," Michael K. Williams also made multiple appearances on "SVU," and one of his roles was quite villainous.
In season eight, episode seven, he played Victor, a pimp accused of murdering a prostitute as part of his employment. During the episode, he escapes from prison and kidnaps another previous victim, and the SVU team is forced to kill his character in order to save the victim.
Bob Saget played an obsessive husband.
Bob Saget on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
Most people know Bob Saget as Danny Tanner from ABC's "Full House". But in season eight, episode nine of "SVU," he appeared as Glenn, a husband so obsessed with knowing his wife's every move that he secretly implants a tracking chip on her.
When he discovers that she is having an affair, he murders his wife.
Ludacris took on the role of a dark criminal.
Ludacris on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
Hip-hop legend Ludacris' two-part arc made it pretty clear that he can act.
In seasons eight and nine, he played Darius Parker, the nephew of Fin Tutuola (Ice-T), who is accused of raping and murdering a young mother before burying her young son alive.
Cynthia Nixon played a character suspected of child abuse.
Cynthia Nixon on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
When Cynthia Nixon appeared on SVU, she was immortalized as Miranda Hobbes on HBO's Sex and the City.
But in season nine, episode one, she put in an exceptional performance as Janis, a woman suspected of child abuse who shows symptoms of multiple personality disorder.
Nixon's performance attracted so much attention that it won a distinguished guest actress Emmy for the role.
Elizabeth McGovern played a psychiatrist charged with murder.
Elizabeth McGovern on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
Elizabeth McGovern graced the big screen in the movie version of "Downton Abbey". But in 2007 she starred in season nine, episode five of "SVU" as Dr. Faith Sutton, a respected psychiatrist hired by military companies to interrogate suspected terrorists.
When the SVU team investigates her techniques, they find her very sadistic and she is eventually charged with negligent homicide.
Jared Harris portrayed a serial killer.
Jared Harris on Law and Order: SVU. Hulu
Jared Harris is known for starring King George VI on Netflix's The Crown and Lane Pryce on AMC's Mad Men. But in the ninth season of "SVU" Harris dropped his English accent and took on a rather inconspicuous role.
In episode six, he played Robert Morten, a hyper-manipulative serial killer whose mentee is on trial for a copycat murder.
Mae Whitman played the mother character of a street gang.
Mae Whitman on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
Famous for her appearances on "Arrested Development" and NBC's "Parenthood," Mae Whitman turned into a villain as Cassidy, a street gang mother character, who caught the attention of the SVU team during an investigation in season nine, episode 11 Murder of a young Upper East Side celebrity.
Robin Williams played a deceitful sound engineer.
Robin Williams on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
The late world-famous comedy legend stretched his dramatic muscles during his ninth season appearance on SVU.
In episode 17, Robin Williams played Merritt Rook, a sound engineer with a real aversion to authority who the SVU team believes is using technical tricks to instigate sexual assault.
Luke Perry portrayed an insidious criminal.
Luke Perry on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
Luke Perry became famous with Fox's "90210".
In season 10, episode one of "SVU", however, he played a particularly monstrous culprit.
His character Noah is a serial rapist who adopts the child born after one of his attacks and forces his wife, another of his rape victims, to raise the boy.
Sarah Hyland played a jealous student in an elite school.
Sarah Hyland at her second "Law and Order: SVU" appearance. ABC
ABC's Modern Family star Sarah Hyland appeared twice on SVU as two different characters, but her villain role played out in Season 10, Episode 12.
She played Jennifer, a high-performing student at an elite school who had murderous envy of her brilliant roommate. Hyland delivered a tightly coiled performance that crackled with anger and intensity, far removed from her comedic stylings as Haley Dunphy.
Carol Burnett portrayed a former dark-veined dancer.
Carol Burnett on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
The iconic Carol Burnett, best known for her variety show of the same name, traded her comedy strips during her guest appearance in season 10 on "SVU".
In episode 16, she played Birdie Sulloway, a former dancer with some black widow tendencies.
Hilary Duff played a young mother suspected of murdering her child.
Hilary Duff on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
Former Disney Channel star Hilary Duff took on the criminal role in season 10, episode 19.
She played Ashlee, a young mother who is being investigated by the SVU team for the murder of her one-year-old daughter.
This episode appeared to be inspired by the Casey Anthony trial, and Duff put in a convincing performance.
Sarah Paulson's character was an heiress with a dark side.
Sarah Paulson on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
Emmy winner and leading actress of FX's "American Horror Story", Sarah Paulson, opened up her dark side in season 11, episode 12 of "SVU".
Paulson played Anne Gillette, a wealthy celebrity who inherits big bucks after the shocking murder of her parents. But it doesn't take long before the SVU team locates Anne as the main suspect.
John Stamos played a mysterious lawyer.
John Stamos on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
Like his "Full House" co-star Saget, John Stamos played a villainous character on "SVU".
In season 12, episode 22, he took on the role of Ken, a seemingly charming lawyer who is fixated on having children and determined to have as many as possible no matter what the cost.
Lili Reinhart played a teenage killer.
Lili Reinhart on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
A few years before her "Riverdale" debut on The CW, Lili Reinhart appeared on season 13, episode nine of "SVU" as Courtney, a classmate of a murdered boy.
The SVU detectives eventually identify Courtney as one of the killers.
Betty Gilpin appeared as a promiscuous teacher.
Betty Gilpin on "Law and Order: SVU". Hulu
Betty Gilpin made a name for herself as Debbie / Liberty Belle on the hit Netflix series "GLOW", but she's hardly a newcomer to Hollywood.
Her résumé contains parts from dozens of TV series, including "SVU". She starred in season 13, episode 21, as a teacher entering into a sexual relationship with an underage student.
Pablo Schreiber had a villain arc with multiple episodes.
Pablo Schreiber on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black" and Starz '"American Gods" star Pablo Schreiber had a long-term villain arc as William Lewis, a serial rapist who caught Olivia Benson in season 14 and held her captive until the beginning of season 15.
His "SVU" run as Lewis was eight episodes, but Schreiber also played a minor role as another character in one episode in season eight.
Patti LuPone took on the role of a shrewd talent manager.
Patti LuPone on "Law and Order: SVU". ABC
Famous and acclaimed Broadway actress Patti LuPone also spent some time on the small screen.
In season 16, episode 11, she worked as Lydia, a talent manager with a client suspected of rape and assault. But as is so often the case with "SVU", LuPone's apparently crooked figure turns out to be the mastermind behind the implications of her customer.
Harry Hamlin played a corrupt officer.
Harry Hamlin on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
In the 1980s, Harry Hamlin played the heroic role of Perseus in "Clash of the Titans". But when he guest-starred in the 16th season of "SVU", there was nothing heroic about his character.
He took on a two-part story arc as Chief Charles Patton, Detective Rollins' ex-Atlanta boss whom she suspects of raping a junior officer during a conference in NYC.
Brad Garrett played a prison guard with a criminal streak.
Brad Garrett on Law and Order: SVU. ABC
Best known for his role as Ray Romano's brother on CBS's "Everybody Loves Raymond," Brad Garrett shied away from sitcom health when he signed up for a two-episode run on SVU's 17th season.
He played Gary Munson, a prison guard accused of multiple rapes who eventually shoots and kills a member of the SVU team.
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