The Hilarious Nickname Given To Law And Order's Recurring Guest Stars

"Law & Order" is one of the most successful and influential crime dramas on television. The show, created by Dick Wolf, set the bar for any procedural crime series that dared tread in the massive footprints it made in network television and syndication. With many successful spin-offs and the imminent return of the main "Law & Order' series with a Season 21, the franchise isn't ready to let go of its tight grasp on television just yet.

This is probably great news for any budding actors, especially in New York City, as "Law & Order" has also cemented itself as kind of an acting rite of passage. From Sarah Paulson to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, many actors got their start thanks to "Law & Order." Via the New York Times, a guest role on "Law & Order" not only meant a decent paycheck, but the opportunity also netted a solid credit on one's resume. So it's no wonder that some guest actors were probably more than happy to return to the series, even if it meant portraying a completely different character. Recurring guest stars became frequent throughout the series, so much that fans even created a fitting nickname for them.

Recurring guest stars are known as repeat offenders

In the non-televised criminal justice system, a person who commits a crime multiple times is a repeat offender. But in the "Law & Order" fandom, the term has a much more innocent definition. Recurring guest stars on "Law & Order" are also known as repeat offenders. Today we may see fans talking about "Law & Order" repeat offenders on subreddits, but back in the early aughts, we could find them posting about those christened with the humorous nickname on older forums (via Fan Forum). Per Gothamist, at one point, there was even a fan site dedicated specifically for the series' repeat offenders, but unfortunately, it appears defunct. Today, we're likely to find even Dick's Wolf's Wolf Entertainment production company tweeting about the franchise's many repeat offenders.

Being a "Law & Order" repeat offender gives the benefit of leaving a lasting impression among fans. And some of the series' best-known repeat offenders evolved from guest stars to permanent cast members. For instance, before portraying Lieutenant Anita Van Buren for multiple seasons on "Law & Order," S. Epatha Merkerson got her start on the series as a guest role on the Season 1 episode "Mushrooms" (via Law and Order Fandom) as the mother of two shooting victims.