John Stamos: Playing SVU's Serial Babymaker 'Scared the Hell Out of Me'

Having played it safe with so many of his past career choices, John Stamos says he “jumped at the chance” to play a charming but totally twisted perp on this Wednesday’s Law & Order: SVU (NBC, 10/9c).

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The set-up: An abandoned baby leads the SVU team to a wealthy venture capitalist (Stamos) who was bedding the tot’s nanny at the time the wee one went AWOL. Stamos’ character is “more than happy to help Benson and Stabler through the investigation,” series boss Neal Baer previews, but along the way he’s revealed to have a habit of not just sleeping with many, many women, but purposely impregnating them.

Playing a “reproductive abuser,” as such a criminal is called, “scared the hell out of me,” says Stamos, who is of course well known for playing more wholesome sorts, such as Full House‘s Uncle Jessie and Glee‘s toothy dentist. “He’s unlike any character I’ve seen.”

In fact, when first pitched the part, Stamos admits, “I said, ‘I can’t do this…. It makes no sense for someone like me.'”

But that is precisely why SVU conceived the role with Stamos specifically in mind. Says Baer, “We wanted to see him in a light that he maybe hasn’t been in with other shows,” while to go with an actor who more readily reads as nefarious “wouldn’t have worked.”

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Fortunately, Stamos came around, realizing that this is the sort of chance he used to take after his Full House run. “You get so caught up in being a celebrity these days that you forget why you’re a celebrity — because you’re an actor. And roles like this that scare you is where I should be going with my career,” he says. “I really think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done on television.”

Are you curious to see John Stamos change things up on SVU?