The Late Robin Williams Transformed for Chilling SVU Role Where He Kidnapped Benson

The Late Robin Williams Transformed for Chilling SVU Role Where He Kidnapped Benson

Mariska Hargitay fondly remembers when Williams was on set in 2008.

Thanks to family-friendly hits like Patch Adams, Mrs. Doubtfire and Flubber, the late comedic genius Robin Williams (who died at the age of 63 in 2014) is best known for bringing delight to audiences everywhere. But the Juilliard-trained actor could also embody dramatic roles, and he went all the way dark for a terrifying turn on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Robin Williams played a chilling manipulator on SVU

For the series’ 200th episode in 2008 (Season 19, Episode 17, “Authority”), the show brought in Williams as a guest star to play Merritt Rook, a man who impersonates police officers over the phone to manipulate his victims into committing crimes.

Merritt represents himself in court and is let off. Later, he kidnaps and tortures Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay)… or so it seems. Really, it’s psychological torture on Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), and Benson was never in real danger. He blames his actions on trauma and tragedy from his past, but clearly, he’s taken it way too far. Williams’ performance was so impressive that it earned him an Emmy nomination.

Richard Belzer helped Robin Williams get on the show

The late Richard Belzer (Detective John Munch), who died in 2023 at 78 years old, started his career as a stand-up comedian alongside Williams, and the two remained friends long after. According to Neal Baer, who co-wrote the episode, Belzer was the one who reached out to Williams about appearing on the show.

RELATED: The 1st Time Benson Met Stabler’s Mom on SVU Was So Heartbreaking

Richard Belzer and Robin Williams on set of Law and Order SVU

Robin Williams and Richard Belzer work on set in Bryant Park March 28, 2008 in New York City. Photo: Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images

Mariska Hargitay felt Williams’ “magic” on set

“To watch flow happening — that which is invisible — he was the personification of it,” Hargitay recalled in an interview after the actor’s death in 2014, per TODAY. “Everything was electric with him. Like there was no line between sort of acting and who he was as a person. And the most fun person and the most generous, and it was pure joy.”

RELATED: Chris Meloni Kisses Richard Belzer on the Cheek in Sweet Moment 23 Years Ago (PICS)

Hargitay’s eldest son, August, was a toddler at the time, and Williams entertained the little boy with voices on set.

Mariska Hargitay and Robin Williams on set of law and order svu

Mariska Hargitay and Robin Williams on location in Bryant Park for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in New York City on March 28, 2008. Photo: James Devaney/WireImage

“Robin grabbed him and picked him up and so kind and doing voices for him,” she said. “And you’re just in this moment going, ‘I’m pinching myself that I get to live in the same time with somebody so magnetic and so magic and so generous’ that you go, ‘I’m just different because we got to breathe, same oxygen…It was pretty great.”


Related Posts

Our Privacy policy - © 2024 News