Elizabeth Mitchell returns to ‘Law & Order: SVU’ stuck in arrested development
Elizabeth Mitchell has guest starred in Law & Order: SVU before. But the series, which is in its 12th year, has already developed a habit of reusing guest stars and returning the most interesting ones in new roles, so it is really no surprise they would want to bring back someone of her caliber. And Executive Producer Neal Baer had just the role.
“We go out to people we think would be right for certain episodes, and we thought of Elizabeth right away,” Baer said on a conference call last week to discuss her new episode, “Totem.” It was a story he had eleven years in the making, ever since he began working on the acclaimed criminal drama. But he waited all of this time to make sure he got the casting right.
Mitchell is June Frye– a piano teacher who is, in all accounts, great at her job, but who harbors a terrible secret that affects not only the way she works but also the way she lives in general.
“She’s accused of a really terrible thing with one of her students. It goes down a road,” Mitchell laughed, “and there are all of these twists and turns.”
Unlike the role she portrayed last time around, who Mitchell called a mother at her core and pointed out that all of her actions came from love and protection, June is “a victim, still very much in the storm of it. She’s not fully formed as a person. She’s in a state of arrested development.”
Mitchell is a family woman in her day-to-day life, and she shared that she doesn’t easily shed characters or situations on set when she goes home at the end of the day, but that she has had to learn to so that her family doesn’t get driven crazy. She couldn’t help but point to the differences in her personality working on a show like SVU to, say, V, where she has to kill an alien and call it a day, though.
“I’m normally a big flirt,” she laughed. “Walking around on set, joking with everyone, but I don’t think I made one joke this time.”
Through the “very sad, very toxic” subject matter, though, Mitchell was just glad to be able to give a voice to victims. And for her as an actor, she was just thrilled to be able to work on a well-written, well-structured show. That is what true artistry is all about.
“Beautiful words. Well-written words…are why I wanted to be an actor,” Mitchell, who spent fifteen years doing theater and attributes that preparation to why she no longer fears any audition or any role, said. “I’m such a big fan of studying, of really learning your craft. Find something that works for you and stick with it…and it doesn’t have to be intellectual always, but immerse yourself in your craft!”
Mitchell’s episode of Law & Order: SVU airs on NBC at 10pm.