Dun-dun! UH native guest stars on 'Law & Order: SVU'
In the television acting system, an appearance on "Law & Order: SVU" is considered a prime gig for up-and-coming thespians. In University Heights, we are especially proud of hometown actor Gabriel Sidney Brown for his performance on a recent episode. This is his story . . .
“I hope I get it.” Brown was no stranger to the show’s casting director. “I auditioned for 'Law & Order: SVU' several times and also numerous other shows within the Dick Wolf Productions’ world previously,” Brown said.
“'Law & Order: SVU,' 'FBI: Most Wanted' and even 'Chicago Med, P.D., and Fire' all exist in the same universe and can have crossover in plot line,” explained Brown. “The same casting director works on each of these shows so, as an actor, auditioning for one puts you well in the mix for any roles which might come up across all of them. I was in the final running several weeks prior for a different character on an episode of 'FBI: Most Wanted,' and was fortunate enough that while that one didn't go my way, I was thought of for this episode.”
“This episode” was “The Presence of Absence,” and in it, Brown plays a young medical student.
Pleading the fifth. Before the show aired, Brown didn’t just have the right to remain silent—his silence was mandatory. He couldn’t tell anyone if he played a crime victim, a perpetrator, or a witness.
“With a show like 'Law & Order: SVU,' the writers and producers can be very tight-lipped about the full plot lines to avoid any leaks of the script or spoilers,” Brown said.
The table read through was the first time Brown had seen the entire script. “My neck was sore from the whiplash I got at each twist and turn,” he said. “It was crazy! This show has been on now for 24 seasons and still has the ability to keep its viewers guessing and on their toes.”
The character. Brown played a young, handsome medical student named Cooper—much to the delight of everyone at UH City Hall.
In the show, a detective describes Brown’s character as “tall, blue eyes, medical school—someone won the genetic lottery.”
“I noticed quite a coincidence (between the character Cooper and the University Heights Brand Ambassador),” Brown said. “I think the only thing missing was the beautiful plumage, and Cooper the Chicken would have been a dead ringer for this role.”
Too shy for selfies. Brown shared the screen with "SVU" stars Ice-T and Molly Burnett. While Brown says the entire cast and crew were a joy to work with, he singled out the two co-stars for praise. “This is Molly's first season on 'SVU,' and she is clearly such a welcome addition to the main cast. For someone who has been working on this show for as long as he has, Ice was incredibly kind and professional and an all-around nice guy. A true legend.”
“Coming into an episode of a long-running show like 'SVU,' it can feel intimidating being the new guy on set,” he said, “but I felt comfortable immediately and had such a fun time goofing around with them off set as well as on.”
“The Presence of Absence” episode, in which Brown appears, originally aired on NBC on March 24. It is now available on the Peacock streaming service.
Mike Cook is the communications and civic engagement director for University Heights.