Diane Neal Played Another Character on SVU Before Casey Novak: Here's Who!

Diane Neal first appeared in SVU as a sadistic murderer

She even returned in Seasons 12 and 13 alongside former ADA Alex Cabot (Stephanie March)! But eagle-eyed fans may know that before Neal played Novak, she appeared in the Season 3 episode "Ridicule" as a convicted murderer named Amelia Chase. 

Anthony Anderson played Benson's temporary replacement in SVU

Det. Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) appears in a scene from Law & Order, Season 21 Episode 9. Photo: Will Hart/NBC Anderson might have played Law & Order Detective Kevin Bernard for many years, but before his days of busting criminal butt with Sam Waterston, he appeared in an episode of SVU. Two years before jumping on the flagship series, Anderson played Detective Lucius Blaine in Season 7's "Fat" as a temporary partner for Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) while Benson (Mariska Hargitay) was away. Lucius is responsible for bringing us the hilarious line, directed to Stabler of all people, "Forgot I was dealing with Detective Sensitive."

Kelli Giddish played a special victim in an early episode of SVU 

Stabler and Rollins Discuss New Crime Ring Posing as Police | NBC's Law & Order: Organized CrimeIt was hard bidding farewell to Kelli Giddish as longtime SVU fan favorite Amanda Rollins in Season 24, especially since her Law & Order reign is so beloved. But before Rollins was interrogating suspects in the hot seat, Giddish played a special victim named Kara Bawson in Season 8's "Outsider." Giddish then took her talent to the Criminal Intent series to play murder suspect Dana Stipe in Season 7's "Depths."

S. Epatha Merkerson had a guest role in Law & Order's debut season

Merkerson has been lighting up the screen for years as Chicago Med's Sharon Goodwin, but we all remember her as the iconic Lieutenant Anita Van Buren in the flagship Law & Order. Even before that, though, Merkerson appeared in Season 1's "Mushrooms" as the mother of a victim named Denise Winters. Two years later, Merkerson took on Van Buren, and the rest is Law & Order history.

Jerry Orbach first appeared as a defense attorney in Law & Order

The late Orbach played the sardonic Detective Lennie Briscoe from Seasons 3-14 of Law & Order, and while fans loved his wit, it wasn't the first time he graced the series with his deadpan humor. A year before landing the role of Briscoe, Orbach guest-starred in the Season 2 episode "The Wages of Love" as defense attorney Frank Lehrman. 

Peter Scanavino is the reigning champion of Law & Order guest roles

Before Peter Scanavino played Rollins' husband and SVU Detective-turned ADA Sonny Carisi, he was one of the most seasoned stars of the Law & Order franchise. Scanavino has played not one, not two, but five different characters across the Law & Order franchise. Scanavino played Johnny Dubcek in SVU's "Monster's Legacy" in 2013, but years before, he appeared as Robert Hassel in Law & Order: Trial by Jury's "Boys Will Be Boys,"Johnny Feist in Criminal Intent's "Diamond Dogs," and Jim Anderson in Law & Order Season 20's "Just a Girl in the World."

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