Dann Florek, Dan Lauria and Mehcad Brooks talk 'Law &Order: SVU'
In “Personal Fouls,” the second episode of “Law & Order: SVU” Season 13, a well-respected basketball coach (guest star Dan Lauria) is accused of sexual abuse and Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Odafin Tutuola (Ice-T), along with new detective Nick Amara (Danny Paro), must uncover the truth about a star player’s past (guest star Mehcad Brooks). Lauria, Brooks and Dann Florek (Capt. Donald Cragen) spoke to the media in a recent conference call about the episode. Excerpts are below.
Q: (To Dan Lauria): How much did you draw upon your days as a football coach for the role?
Dan Lauria: Well I played a lot of coaches. I just finished playing Lombardi on Broadway for nine months. So, you know, I really didn't have to draw that much.
I'm actually not much of a basketball player but we had, you know, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh there on the set. They were kind of giving me some pointers. So it was actually kind of fun to meet those guys.
Q: What is it about acting that is gratifying to you and in your particular roles in this show?
Dan Lauria: Well it beats working. I don't know what the other two are going to say?
Dann Florek: I think this specific episode, it's kind of part and partial of it all. I mean we get to touch base with a lot of people we might not have. We get to experience worlds we might not really ever get to go to.
And like this, I mean I got to reconnect with a buddy, Dan Lauria who I first met over 30 years ago (and) meet new people like Mehcad and then, you know, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and jump into a world that was very new.
Dan Lauria: We were child actors.
Dann Florek: Well I was pre-teen and like Dan said, it's pretty good. I'm too lazy to work and too nervous to steal. So that's part of it too.
Mehcad Brooks: I'd have to say that, you know, I'm a big kid in a lot of ways and I'm not childish but I'm child-like and this is the type of job where you can really flourish as being that.
And, you know, like the gentlemen are saying, you can't bring that attribute anywhere else and have it applauded. You can't be at Starbucks, you know, flipping cups and spilling people's drinks and getting a raise. So yes, it beats working.
Dan Lauria: Also I think this episode shows you what television can be. I mean it doesn't have to be just entertainment or mindless reality shows. It's a show about something, it makes people aware, it's actually going to help children. I have a feeling once it's aired a lot of young people are going to step forward and, you know, reveal the same kind of conflict in their own lives. So it's an important episode.
Dann Florek: I agree with that and one last thing, I think that's something SVU has done from the very beginning. First and foremost in entertainment but I think we always have been trying to shine a light in dark places.
And I think this episode in particular does that and still does it in a very entertaining and moving way.
Q: (To Dan Lauria and Mehcad Brooks): What attracted you to these particular roles for this episode?
Mehcad Brooks: You know first of all, when Law and Order calls you say yes.
I was very blessed in that the nature of this character, it's something that's not really touched on. It's something that's not really brought to light and the way that Brian, the writer described it to me when we had a creative conversation was that it was really important to him and it was really important that we told the story with respect, we told the story with care and we told the story realistically.
And I've known some people who've been sexually molested and it was important to me that it was a blessing and also important to me that I was able to do this.
So for me it was just the nature of the story and the care that Brian wanted to take with it in telling it and the combination of that and Law and Order and having growing up watching the show and just really wanting to be a part of it. So, you know, it was a perfect storm for me.
Dan Lauria: For me it was, this is my seventh Law and Order that I've done so whenever Dick Wolf calls and it's never an audition it's would you do the show? I go because I know it's going to be of the best quality.
And I know the people on the show like Dann Florek and that end so it's great to see old friends again. And the issue was so important that, you know, I just enjoyed doing it.
Q: (To Dann Florek): What was it like to shoot this season without Chris Meloni?
Dann Florek: Well you know what? I'll answer it in two parts. I wouldn’t have traded the first 12 seasons for anything and I think Chris is terrific and very possibly one of the best, if not the best actors, working in television and he's also a dear friend.
But to start this season going in not really knowing what might happen, the transition has been relatively seamless and we have the rest of our cast intact. We have two new incredible people, Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish, who have just folded in in an unbelievable way.
There is so much new about the show this year, it's kind of everything old is new again, you know, we kind of blew it up and put it back together. And as much as I loved working with Chris, I feel like we really haven't missed a step in kind of picking it up and carrying it forward.
“Law & Order: SVU” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV Two. Full episodes are also available online at CTV.ca.