SVU Boss: Elizabeth Mitchell's Performance In 'Horrific' Tale Is 'One of the Best I've Seen'

Think you’ve seen every possible Law & Order: SVU scenario in the NBC procedural’s 12-season run? Think again. Showrunner Neal Baer says that Wednesday’s episode of the sex-crimes series is so edgy, so jaw-dropping, he’s been sitting on it since Day 1. That is, until the wonder that is Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, V) came along, and all of the pieces to make the episode, “Totem,” a reality fell into place.

“We’d been holding this story ever since I started on the show,” Baer explains. “We just didn’t feel that we were able to tell it right.”

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The explosive episode tells the story of “a psychiatrist (returning guest star Jeremy Irons) who works with a woman who’s accused of a terrible, terrible crime,” previews the L&O boss. “We thought about whom we should cast to play this woman. I’d worked with Elizabeth twice before — once on ER, and some years ago on SVU in a very different role — so she immediately came to mind.”

It’s a fortuitous thing that she did, because as Baer raves, “Elizabeth gives a brilliant performance, one of the best I’ve seen on SVU.”

Best known for her sci-fi/cult-hit following from her roles as Dr. Juliet Burke and now ET-fighter Erica Evans, Mitchell tells us she was honored to take on such a vastly different character. “I felt intrigued by the idea of giving victims somewhat of a voice, because in many ways this woman is an incredible victim,” she says of her SVU alter ego, June Frye.

“I play a piano teacher accused of a really terrible crime involving one of her students. And as we see her story unfold, it’s horrific and it’s sad,” continues the actress. “You’re talking about someone who is almost not fully formed as a person. You’re dealing almost with a child.”

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Besides the graphic nature of “Totem,” Baer reveals that his motives behind promoting Wednesday’s episode are simple: He just wants to make sure credit is given where credit is due. “There’s not a false moment in this performance,” attests the SVU boss.”It all worked so perfectly, and that’s why I’m so enthusiastic about this one, in particular. I want people to see it because I feel we really hit it on all cylinders with all the characters: Elizabeth, Jeremy, Mariska [Hargitay], Chris [Meloni]…. It really worked out.”

Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on NBC.

Comments (18)

  • I have already seen the episode (it airs Tuesday nights here in Canada) and I gotta say Mitchell better finally receive that Emmy because she ain’t gonna get it for V

    Comment by Simon – March 30, 2011 06:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Elizabeth Mitchell, and I think she’s a great actress – shame that V is not a good show, she deserved better. But I’m looking forward to this episode, her guest appearances are always great (she was fabulous in CSI and House all those years ago).

    Comment by maddie – March 30, 2011 06:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • it was an amazing episode that will make you sick as well as make you cry. You feel for the victims

    Comment by Lisa – March 30, 2011 07:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Omg! I can’t wait to watch it. Emmy for Liz!

    Comment by Shelby – March 30, 2011 07:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Elizabeth and the episode left me speechless… Please cancel V so that she can act in a show with great writing!!

    Comment by Stella – March 30, 2011 07:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m so excited! Like Jesse Spano excited. I adored her on LOST. Her portrayal of Juliet was the one reason why I started watching LOST in the first place.

    Comment by trev – March 30, 2011 07:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Trev, I am excited for the episode too….your comment re:Jesse Spano made me almost fall out of my chair! I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so….scared!

      Comment by Molly – March 30, 2011 07:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • LOL! Jesse Spano excited…that made my day!

      Comment by Jaded – March 30, 2011 07:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • LOL! I actually started laughing out loud and my co-workers are probably thinking I’m crazy.

      Comment by becca – March 30, 2011 07:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Watched it here in Canada last night. Thought the episode was terrible. Elizabeth did the best with what she was given for material but this show has gone down hill big time.

    Comment by Greg – March 30, 2011 08:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • How are people seeing it early when it doesn’t air until NEXT week

      Comment by Jsoh – March 30, 2011 11:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Because in Canada we are just that lucky! Free health care AND early SVU :P

        Comment by Tonya – March 30, 2011 03:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I asked the pharmacist how much my prescription would cost if I didn’t have insurance; $185…for face cream! As it was, I had to pay $40…for face cream!

          Although I love the U.S., you’ve made a very enticing argument for Canada. Along with SVU :)

          Comment by Cathy – March 30, 2011 06:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have never seen an episode of any of the L&Os (dont like procedurals), but I am big fan of Elizabeth Mitchell so I might make an exception and watch this one.

    Comment by Mac – March 30, 2011 08:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • That’s funny Jesse Spano. I can’t wait to see this episode. I love Elizabeth, she is an awesome actress. I watch the V and its not that bad. But I LOVE LOVE LoVE me some SVU. All seasons are really good, but this year there has been some awsome guest stars. Neal needs to stay, can’t imagine him leaving.

    Comment by Nicole – March 30, 2011 08:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Is the Law & Order series the only network shows that have guest stars/recurring cast often play more than one role on the show? I not saying the LO series are bad or anything just sort of bugs me that you will have the same actor play a completely different role. I know The Late great Veronica Mars did it once.

    Comment by Chancey30 – March 30, 2011 02:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This seems to be a storyline based on a case here in California; I don’t know if I could watch it, that case is just so sad.

    Comment by Cathy – March 30, 2011 06:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • your comment made my day.

    i have never considered face cream to be funny until now

    Comment by Cindy – April 16, 2011 08:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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