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Law and Order: SVU 12×20 Totem

SVU|| ROLE || Guest Star
|| AS || June Frye, piano teacher accused of raping and killing one of her students
|| EPISODE || 12×20 “Totem”
|| YEAR || 2011
|| NETWORK || NBC
|| INFOS || Press Release | Rating | Reviews | Fan Report | Elizabeth Trending Topics on Twitter |
|| BUY THE EPISODE || DVD UK | DVD USA |
|| CURIOSITY || This is Elizabeth’s second guest appearance (but with a different character) on this show. The first time is in 2003

|| PLOT || When a young girl is found dead with a doll that is believed to have been left as a totem, detectives Benson (Hargitay) and Stabler (Meloni) team up with Captain Jackson (Guest Star Jeremy Irons), a psychologist who assisted them with a recent case, to investigate her murder. Jackson joins the detectives as they retrace the girl’s last steps and go to meet with her piano teacher June Frye (guest star Elizabeth Mitchell). Jackson’s skills prove to be invaluable in deciphering the meaning of the totem and ultimately finding her killer.

|| PRESS RELEASE || “LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT” – “TOTEM” 03/30/2011 (10:00PM – 11:00PM) (Wednesday) : CAPTAIN JACKSON (GUEST STAR JEREMY IRONS) RETURNS WHEN DETECTIVES BENSON (MARISKA HARGITAY) AND STABLER (CHRIS MELONI) INVESTIGATE THE MURDER OF A YOUNG GIRL
When a young girl is found dead with a doll that is believed to have been left as a totem, detectives Benson (Hargitay) and Stabler (Meloni) team up with Captain Jackson (Guest Star Jeremy Irons), a psychologist who assisted them with a recent case, to investigate her murder. Jackson joins the detectives as they retrace the girl’s last steps and go to meet with her piano teacher June Frye (guest star Elizabeth Mitchell). Jackson’s skills prove to be invaluable in deciphering the meaning of the totem and ultimately finding her killer.

Mariska Hargitay
  • “My new pal. how gorgeous is she? inside and out. what an actress.”
SVU Producer Neal Bear
  • “Totem is after Bombshell with Jeremy Irons and Elizabeth Mitchell in a performance that will stun you.”
  • “And I’d worked with Elizabeth twice before, once in ER when I introduced her character when she came on ER and some years ago on SVU in a very different role. So she immediately came to mind because she’s such a wonderful actor.
  • “And we just always from the beginning thought of Elizabeth for this role. And we wanted somebody who could, you know, really be right with Jeremy Irons. And I’ve got to tell you that Elizabeth gives a brilliant performance, one of the best I’ve seen on SVU.”
    Well, there are very few women who have ever been accused or actually have committed this terrible crime that is the focus of this story, which is abusing and killing a child. And we just felt that it had to be right for us to do it. So we’ve talked about it off and on for 11 years but we just never felt, as I said before, we had the right combination until Jeremy came on to take the part of the psychiatrist and then we felt we were able to do it. And then we wanted Elizabeth to play the part.
    And I wholeheartedly agree with what she said. This woman has been very arrested in her development because of what’s happened to her and what she’s done. And it makes for, you know, one of the most compelling episodes we’ve ever done, and we’ve done a lot of compelling episodes. So it really is a hyperbole where, you know, we have all seen it and we just sit there stunned watching it because it is so real in the performances that Elizabeth and Jeremy give that you feel, you know, that you’re actually there in the room watching this all occur because it’s so real and compelling and honest.
    And I think that that, you know, makes for good story telling. You really come to understand this character of June and why it’s happened and takes you to a place where you really think about, you know, how some people’s lives through no fault of their own can take turns that are pretty horrifying. And it gives you some understanding. You know, Elizabeth just creates the character in such a brutally honest way that we needed an actor who would go to that dark, dark place and what’s so interesting about it is she has no fear of going to this place and it’s just so hard to talk about without revealing stuff. But it’s so brutal and I think that that’s what makes it so compelling, an hour that you won’t soon forget.
    No, we were lucky that she was available. We checked pretty far in advance because as I said, we knew if we were going to go down this road we needed to have an actress who could do this and she was our first choice. So, you know, her schedule was free we found out, you know, about a while before, I think it was almost maybe two months before because we knew that if we were going to do it we had to do it right. So they knew what the schedule was so it was great for us.

    There’s not a false moment in the performance and I’ve seen the show over and over because we go through editing. And it’s a very nuanced performance and because of the story matter it’s so horrific and so upsetting that you’re with this woman and you just want to reach out to her and you want to try and understand what she’s gone through because the crime is so terrible.
    So I think all of those things, and for the most part the honesty – you know, when we were talking about the part I was very insistent. I talked to both our makeup person and our wardrobe person on this show, and that doesn’t happen very often, and I said, you know, I had very specific ideas in mind for this character. And I said, two things; one is no makeup, she’s a piano teach who’s really closed herself off from life; and two, very, very simple clothes, just, like, a blouse, and a little skirt. It was so clear to me, this character. And I even knew the colors. It was very interesting. So I guess I had this character so in my head. And then when I saw, you know, Elizabeth in the role it just all worked so perfectly.
    You know, it doesn’t happen – I mean we have really great shows but to have it happen so perfectly in this episode, you know, that’s why I’m so enthusiastic about this one in particular and I want people to see it because I feel we really just hit it on all cylinders with all the characters, Elizabeth, Jeremy, Mariska, and Chris that the three of them really worked with her throughout the show. Mariska has moments with her as well. And Chris is in the scenes too that it’s just all at peace and you just go, wow, it really worked out. And so we just had it all right I think in this show that we had all the elements together, that’s why I actually want people to watch it this week because it is really special.
SVU JS Casting
  • “Elizabeth Mitchell and Jeremy Irons turn in fantastic performances next week! Don’t miss it!”
  • Someone said: Elizabeth Mitchell just won the Emmy 4 best Guest Actress…Brilliant. “After tonight I think many may agree!”


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