Interview With Law and Order SVU-Dan Florek

Starting my 13th year on Law and Order SVU and it’s the closest set and group of people I’ve ever worked with. And to do it for such an extended period I think is pretty extraordinary. _Dan Florek: Law and Order SVU

Dann Florek as Capt. Donald Cragen on Law and Order: Special Victims UnitDan Florek: Law and Order SVU
Actor | Aspiring Guitarist | Golfer
Credits: Law & Order | Law & Order: Special Victims Unit | L.A. Law | NBC’s Wings | The Pretender | The Practice | NYPD Blue | Roseanne | Ellen | Sabrina the Teenage Witch | Smart Guy | The Pentagon Wars | Emmy Award-winning From the Earth to the Moon
By: Kamilah Wallace/Premier Guide Media

As pragmatic Captain Donald Cragen, Dann Florek reprises the role he originated on the first three seasons of sister series “Law & Order.” Prior to the debut of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Florek also got the chance to play Cragen in the “Law & Order” movie “Exiled.”

What do you enjoy the most about working on this show?

Dan Florek: This specific episode it’s kind of part and partial of it all. I get to touch base with a lot of people we might not have. I get to experience worlds I might not really ever get to go to. And I got to reconnect with a buddy, Dan Lauria who I first met over 30 years ago. Meet new people like Mechad and then Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and jump into a world that was very new. I was pre-teen and it’s pretty good. I’m too lazy to work and too nervous to steal. So that’s part of it too. First and foremost in entertainment but I think we always have been trying to shine a light in dark places. I think that’s something SVU has done from the very beginning. And I think this episode in particular does that and still does it in a very entertaining and moving way.

What is your routine before filming?

Dan Florek: On a television series there are certain things that just have to be set in place about schedule and when the script is ready and when you go into prep and things like that. But then what is different is the nature of each story, each episode and who the guest stars are and that always brings in a kind of new mix and a new energy. So we kind of have to start at the same place but I think each one finds a life of its own. And in some you rehearse more and some you kind of jump right in. The camera moves in different ways but I think the nature of the story is a big part of how we proceed each time. Each one is self-contained also. We don’t have to worry about serializing it and we can kind of jump in and deal with those issues.

Who would you like to work with on this show?

Dan Florek: Robert Duvall is kind of a favorite if we could ever get him around or Gene Hackman. I think he quit acting. But in an odd twist for a minute I would say is rest in peace, John Ritter. I think he was one of the best guest stars we ever had. And that was kind of a very sad situation but it would have been amazing to have him back. There’s a list. I can watch a movie or turn on a TV show and take my picks. But if we could get Robert Duvall or Gene Hackman I would do back flips.

How was it for you to shoot this season without Chris Meloni?

Dan Florek: I wouldn’t have traded the first 12 season 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 our our cast intact. We have two new, incredible people, Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish who have just folded in- in an unbelievable way we have. 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.

There seems to be a lot of changes this year/season?
Dan Florek: There is so much new about the show this year, it’s kind of everything old is new again. We blew it up and put it back together.

Does television today offer more interesting projects than movies?

Dan Florek: I see a lot of movies being genre films or remakes or number 3, 4, 5 or 6. I take no exception with that. They’re entertaining. I happen to be a fan of the smaller films but what I do think is happening is a lot of the best writers are moving over to television. And you’re finding people that only worked in film for a long time and I think they felt boxed in a little bit too. So we’re getting major award winning people from production in writing who are wanting to do television. And I think also with the advent with all of the product that’s on cable it’s been pushing the envelope for the networks too. And so there is stuff that is way more interesting and edgier and out of the box. And that’s a very attractive thing for all of us as actors.

How close is everyone on the set?

Dan Florek: Starting my 13th year on the show and I will say truthfully that it’s probably been the closest set and group of people I’ve ever worked with. And to do it for such an extended period I think is pretty extraordinary. We’re also starting this year with a couple of new key players and some new crew people, a new show runner.

Did you enjoy having Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony on set?

Dan Florek: I only got to meet them very briefly but it was kind of humbling in a lot of ways because the crew and all of the ADs and everybody was telling me we all kind of disappeared when they showed up on set. There were lines to get their autographs and to talk to the ballers. So it was pretty cool for everybody actually. We were kind of like kids too.

Of all the A.D.A.s you have had on the show, who would you like to work with again?

Dan Florek: I’ll play an A.D.A. in a play with Dan Lauria. I’ve liked all of them but Stephanie March and Diane Neal are back this season. So it’s kind of cool that some favorites that I thought were gone are back again.

What do you make of the role Mehcad has stepped into?

Dan Florek: One of the things about that role is Mehcad Brooks- Prince Miller has to summon up courage like he never has in his life to do what he has to do at the press conference. And I do think there’s an element of courage for an actor him to take on a role like that. It’s just like the same thing about image and what you do and you get to the point where the message is more important than anything personal.

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