‘Law & Order: SVU’ officers command uniform respect
On the screen, they’re dealing with the most hideous aspects of humanity. When the director yells cut, the actors from “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” leave the rapes and murders their characters encounter and fall into easy patterns established after years together.
The 12th season closes Wednesday, May 18, a pretty remarkable run for a spinoff. On a recent drizzly day in the expanse that is Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers, the cast finishes one episode and begins the season finale, the 24th of the year. Official word had not yet come from NBC as to whether this would be renewed.
“We’re not going anywhere,” says Richard Belzer, who plays Detective John Munch. “The show makes too much money — for other people.”
“You know that cha-ching sound?” adds Ice-T, who plays Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola. “It’s (creator) Dick Wolf’s cash register.”
Ice-T is playing a video game in his dressing room when Belzer pokes his head in. They’re very different guys, but playing partners all these years gives them a deep bond.
“We don’t finish each other’s sentences,” Belzer says. “We just look at each other, and whole paragraphs are finished.”
They’ve played partners for 11 years, which Belzer notes “is longer than my first two marriages — combined.”
Ice-T is convinced they’re all playing heightened versions of themselves.
“Chris is definitely an angry white man,” Ice-T says of Christopher Meloni, who plays Detective Elliot Stabler. “Fin is really Ice-T, if I was a cop.
“I just use me,” Ice-T says. “I’m cheating, I guess. I’m a career criminal in real life.”
“He’s kidding,” Belzer interrupts.
“No, I’m not,” Ice-T says. “But to have a career criminal playing a cop, you get a cop with an interesting dynamic. You can get a player to act like a square, but a square never comes across like a player.”
Maybe, but many actors over the years have guest starred on the show, if for nothing else, to play against type. Independently, many cite Carol Burnett as a favorite. She knew the crew’s names before she stepped on set.
By now, this is a fabled set. In the courtroom, always the second half of the original “Law & Order,” two floor tiles, invisible to viewers, reveal special moments. One reads, “On this spot Gregory Hines danced for us 2/4/03.” The late, great tapper played a defense attorney.
Another states: “A striped bass blew up on this spot 3/3/11.”
John Stamos guest starred in an episode in which someone was killed with a scuba diver’s knife that pumps out explosive gas. A bass (an already dead bass, the publicist notes) was blown up during rehearsals to replicate how the knife could be used. Pieces of the huge fish splattered everywhere.
Page 19 TV Crossword answer: Piers Morgan