Betty Gilpin Recalls Being Forgotten in a Body Bag on the Set of Law & Order

Betty Gilpin smiling
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Countless celebrities have appeared on Law & Order over the years, to the point that Betty Gilpin considers a cameo on the long-running NBC series a “rite of passage” for working actors. “The first couple years of my career, it was only theater and Law & Order,” the 35-year-old GLOW star told Jimmy Fallon during an appearance on The Tonight Show on Thursday. “So I did an order of SVU, I was a pedophile with vocal fry,” she recalled. “And I was a lesbian with acne on ‘the mothership,’ we called it, which is just the normal Law & Order.”

But her most memorable Law & Order experience was playing a dead body on the Criminal Intent spinoff, which aired on ABC from 2001 to 2011. “I was Fran Drescher’s daughter, which is an honor,” she said of her first-ever job as an actor. “Fans will know, I was found naked in an oil drum. Vincent D’Onofrio like, found my naked dead body. I remember them zipping up the body bag…and I just had to sort of be in there.”

D’Onofrio had no trouble finding Gilpin’s body, but the same can’t be said for the crew working the set. “They called cut—they were like, ‘That’s lunch, guys, great day!,’” Gilpin continued. “And I hear, like, footsteps on gravel getting farther and farther away, van doors closing. Ten seconds goes by and I hear one far-away P.A. being like, ‘Oh my god.’ And [I hear] footsteps coming towards me. [The bag] unzips, sunlight in my face. ‘Let’s get you out of there!’”

As for why she didn’t call for help, Gilpin explained that she “didn’t want to be high-maintenance—I wanted to work again in the same season.” She accomplished her goal, working her way up to a character who wasn’t deceased. “Within the same year, I was an alive person [on Criminal Intent],” she recalled with a laugh. “Same season, They were like, ‘No one cares. No one remembers you.’” Clearly, the same is true on their end.