On September 9, The Knockturnal was on the set of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, set to premiere its seventeenth season on September 23 at 9pm on NBC. With such an amazing run and cast in its background, it surely can be said that this season will be as thrilling as ever. The first episode, “Devil’s Dissections” / “Criminal Pathology,” will be a special two hour season premiere with the return of a former guest star and with the cast revisiting a past crime, but that will stay up in the air. However, we can say to expect Virginia Madsen showing up in the sixth episode playing a certain caregiver role, but that’s as far as we’ll go.
For now, read on to see what Ice-T and Kelli Giddish have to say about the show, being pregnant, and even a Straight Outta Compton shout out from Ice-T.
Ice-T: You got Ice and a pregnant woman coming.
At least we know the difference.
Ice-T: Even though I’m not pregnant my wife is.
Congrats on that. Now you have extra help in research right?
Ice-T: No we’re just riding it out.
Kelli Giddish: Nobody’s giving advice to anybody.
So how does working on a show with such longevity change you and—
Ice-T: How does it mold me as a person? It’s the most, how would I say? Consistent job I’ve had? It’s the most normal, like have a place you live, go to work, part of that. You know, for a long time, being a musician and having to travel all over the world, it’s being able to act in one place. It’s a great thing you know? I don’t know when I was really young I might have liked it, it might have been too stagnant for me, but at this time in my life, I don’t mind being able to go home every night to the same place and have a home. As far as doing the job, how has it molded me? I think it’s made me a better actor. Like being able to act every day? It can’t do anything but help so I think of being on SVU is like me going to the Harvard of acting. Just having over twenty years of almost consistently acting. What about you? Are those good answers?
KG: Well I was going to say just being an actor, it’s not like we have to live or work and move our whole lives to Dallas or Atlanta or Vancouver. We get to live in New York and do a show that doesn’t suck.
Ice-T: This show could be in bum-fuck Egypt too and you’d be forced to live there.
KG: We live in a great city.
The show was filmed in New Jersey though.
Ice-T: But still, New York, New Jersey, you can’t beat this. When you’re not working, you’re in New York. It’s great.
KG: It is great. Because I’ve flown a lot—some of the shows I’ve done were in Dallas and Atlanta respectively and while I loved doing that in my twenties, it’s nice to have one character—it’s not like a film where if you mess up, it’s their perpetuity. It’s like “Oh God, I had a bad day and that take—“We get to redeem ourselves or work on ourselves every single day coming to work. And not many people have that opportunity especially in a climate of TV now. Like if it’s not a hit right off the bat, then you’re sunk and you’re done and then it’s over next thing. This is something we can rely on being there, it’s a good thing. You know, and now we have Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire or “Chicago MD” or whatever it’s called.
Ice-T: Yeah, Chicago Med and also it comes easier because every day, I’m going to be me. I’m going to be the same character. So I can just apply to different scripts this character who Fin is and everybody knows where he stands. It’s not like every show I have to create another character. And in that sense, it’s easy. I totally believe in conserving your energy because I’ve always said “Kelli, let’s conserve your energy because in a minute, or any moment, they’re going to write a scene that’s going to make you act your fucking ass off.”
Ice-T: So until then, you just have to lay back and be a cop until that moment happens. And when you’re doing a show that’s really a 23 hour movie, you can’t just be on it at all times.
Do you ever look back at your earlier episodes?
Ice-T: I was still fucking incredible then. I mean you have to remember, by the time I’ve done Law & Order, I’ve done fifty movies. So I had already been in it, but I just thought to get better and better and better and better. I think I’m more relaxed now, because what Kelli said, coming from movies, you got ninety minutes to put it out there so you’re doing some super acting. When you get to this, you just gotta learn it- you can’t overdo it.
KG: And I’ve always came from dong theater and this is just like a completely different beast and I never knew I would like it as much as I do.
Ice-T: I was being sarcastic.
KG: But now, it’s—no you weren’t. I can’t even repeat what you said. “In-fucking-credible?”
KG: I just don’t know where the “fuck” went in. “Incr-fucking-edible.” Is that it?
Ice-T: I’m a rapper. Forget it.
KG: But we don’t have to say the same thing night after night like the Broadway stars do. You know, like we have to stay the same character but it’s something new every single day. And thank God because as actors we just get so bored. We’re like “Huh? What were you saying five minutes ago?” Like if we’re not moved then we’re not—
Ice-T: And the fun is getting the guest stars. Because now we’re used with acting with each other but then they throw up a new person in. It’s like who’s coming to the party this week. You always get to meet new people and that’s what makes it exciting. Indefinitely.
SVU has to figure out a way so we don’t know that that’s the killer. Is there something that we know and you don’t and then we wait until you figure it out?
Ice-T: I don’t know. There’s an SVU rule. The SVU rule is whoever is suspect in the first scene is really it. Whoever we go after first, forget it. Just throw them out the way.
So that’s the twist? That’s the twist that you have the science down?
Ice-T: Good twist though.
Have either of you thought about doing anything else with the show? Like directing?
KG: No. Writing, this is a science, an exact science.
Ice-T: No. I don’t want to—not with this show. Mariska [Hargitay] directs. And she directs and acts, and it’s an unimaginable task. And I take my hat off to her because it takes a lot of work to direct this show. We start a week ahead of each episode, you finish a week afterwards, while you’re simultaneously working—and naw. I have other projects, I have a production company and do things outside of this show. Got a talk show we’re doing, got other things we’re doing. This is separate. No, I’m cool with just acting.
But it’s definitely broken actors into becoming writers and directors.
Ice-T: Yea there’s a difference between this and a movie. There’s a difference with trying to direct this while you’re on this. I’ll stay in my lane.
And yourself? You have this project (pregnancy) to work on.
Ice-T: That’s another project.
KG: Yeah, I’ve got my own project I’m working on.
Is this project going to make appearances in other episodes?
Ice-T: It’s getting a SAG card. That’s a hint.
KG: Well I’m already working on my dog getting a SAG card. She’s been in five episodes. She’ll be in the first half of the season too.
How far are you working until?
KG: I don’t know, we’ll see. I feel great. I’m really lucky to have a good pregnancy.
Ice-T: The way they address this show, it’s very fly by night. Coco’s been in the show three times, and the way she got in the show, they were like, “Yo, we need a girl. Yea, she needs to have some big boobs. Kinda like Coco’s size. You know what? Why don’t we just ask Coco?” Boom, they just put her in the show. So they’re like, “You know, we need a dog.” And “Why don’t you just use Frannie? She’s here.”
KG: She’s here anyway.
Ice-T: And there’s no science that goes into it. They go to your door “Hey guys we’re thinking about using your dog.” And we’re like “Oh fuck it, that’s cool.”
What about your music? Have you slipped it a few times?
Ice-T: I got a lot on that a few times.
KG: Oh why haven’t you? I’m interested.
Ice-T: No, not on this show. Here’s some inside info. Word on the street is that they might rekindle New York Undercover. No not a leak, you have to be a miniature New York Undercover, that with kids. Why you laughing at it, New York Undercover is like a 25 year old file. Oh I’m sorry, 20 years old. I’m an old man. So they’d have to come in with a young group of detectives, I’ve already pissed myself to be the chief.
KG: What about sergeant? You need a blond.
Ice-T: It’s a possibility and my music would fit in that. I can be transferred from SVU to there.
You’ve done Lollapalooza?
Ice-T: Yes I had.
So what do you think of Straight Outta Compton?
KG: All of us here were like “Ice, whaddaya think?”
Ice-T: Absolutely. It was very honest, it was true; the kids played N.W.A like it was really it. He was acting like Easy, kicked out of the park, I felt like I was talking to Cube, all the stuff about Jerry, all the infighting, it was all real. Like the scene where the riot happened, I was like me and Cube were making trespasses but when he cut back, he was writing Friday and I was like, “This shit is really on.” Great movie, that’ll get some Oscar nods.