Retro | Entertainment

25 Famous Actors Appeared on "Law & Order," These Are Their Stories

I've been watching Law and Order since the beginning, but looking back there were a lot of famous faces that made an appearance on the original, as well as Law and Order: SVU.

Sarah Paulson

Before she was an Emmy-winning actress, the American Horror Story actress got her first on-screen credit as a 14-year-old girl named Maggie Conner, who was investigated for the murder of her mother.

Ginnifer Goodwin

The Once Upon a Time actress appeared in one episode of Law and Order in 2001 as a woman named Erica.

Laverne Cox

Now known as a human rights activist and Sophia Bursett on Orange Is The New Black, Cox appeared on Law and Order playing a character named Minnie.

Hayden Panettiere

This Heroes and Nashville star appeared in season 2 of Law and Order: SVU as a child who intentionally hurts herself to get attention from her parents. She appeared again in season 6 as a high school prostitute who kills her doctor.

Elizabeth Banks

Have you ever been so short on cash that you start a porn career to pay for your daughter's medical bills? Elizabeth Banks has, at least on Law and Order.

Sarah Hyland

The Modern Family star was a guest star on a 2004 episode of Law and Order. She ends up admitting to murdering her roommates. Yikes.

Idris Elba

In 2001, Elba appeared on an episode of Law and Order before becoming a bonafide movie star.

John Ritter

The late Three's Company star played a doctor accused of killing his wife and unborn child in season 3 of Law and Order: SVU.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman

The Oscar winner appeared as Steven Hanauer, a man accused in a rape case.

Serena Williams

The new mom guest-starred as Chloe Spiers, an internet porn victim which lead to a fraternity murder. She traded in her tennis racket for a basketball in this season 5 episode of Law and Order: SVU.

Kerry Washington

Before she was sleeping with the president and kicking butt on Scandal, Washington appeared as Allie Lawrence in a 2001 episode of Law and Order.

Jennifer Garner

In 1996, a young Garner appeared on Law and Order for one episode as Jaime, a graduate student.

Julianna Marguiles

Just her second on-screen credit, Marguiles appeared as Ruth Mendoza, a Navy lieutenant, in a 1993 episode of Law and Order.

Clare Danes

In 1992, Danes made her television debut as Tracy Brandt on Law and Order.

Bradley Cooper

The Hollywood heartthrob appeared as lawyer Jason Whitaker in season 6, defending a client accused of multiple rapes on Law and Order: SVU.

Sara Ramirez

Before she was the beloved Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy, Ramirez appeared on two episodes of Law and Order: SVU. In season 2, she appears as the mother of a young boy suspected of murder. In season 4, she appears as a prostitute to help the police investigate a crime at a men's club.

Kate Walsh

Another Grey's Anatomy alum, Walsh appeared in a 1997 episode of Law and Order as Kirstin Blair, a Navy lieutenant under investigation.

Allison Janney

Years for she made it big on West Wing, Janney appeared on two episodes of Law and Order. The first was in 1992 as a character named Nora, the second was in 1994 as a character named Ann Madsen.

Laura Linney

The Love Actually actress appeared in an episode of Law and Order in 1994 as Martha Bowen.

Chris Messina

A three-time Law and Order alum, Messina appeared as Tommy Bell in 1995, Kevin Turner in 1996, and Don Cushman in 2003.

Ellen Pompeo

Law and Order really was a launching pad for a lot of Grey's Anatomy actors. In 1996, Pompeo appeared as Jenna Weber. In 2000, she returned as Laura Kendrick.

Chandra Wilson

I mean, really. Did Grey's Anatomy get a bulk discount for hiring ex-Law and Order actors? In 1992, Wilson appeared as Serena Price for one episode.

Ty Burrell

Before he was an Emmy-winning actor, Burrell made his small-screen debut on Law and Order as Paul Donatelli in 2000. In 2003 he returned as Herman Capshaw.

Isaiah Washington

More. Grey's. Anatomy. The future-Dr. Burke appeared as Derek Hardy in an 1991 episode of Law and Order.

Felicity Huffman

In 1992, the actress joined Law and Order for an episode as Diane Perkins. In 1997 she returned as Hillary Colson.

Do you remember watching any of these episodes?