‘Law & Order: SVU’: Why the Actor Who Plays Henry Mesner Looks So Familiar

Law & Order: SVU revisited an old case in the May 20 episode and brought back a teen killer. Ethan Cutkosky plays Henry Mesner, but here’s why the actor may look familiar.

Ethan Cutkosky on 'Law & Order SVU'
Ethan Cutkosky on ‘Law & Order: SVU’ | Heidi Gutman/NBC

21-year-old Ethan Cutkosky is known for his role on ‘Shameless’

Cutkosky doesn’t have an extensive list of TV and film credits. But he is most known for his 11-season run on Shameless.

In the award-winning Showtime drama, Cutkosky plays the second-youngest Gallagher sibling, Carl. The Illinois native joined the series in season 1 at the age of 11 and remained part of the main cast for ten years. 

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Cutkosky has also appeared in three films — Fred Claus, Unborn, and Conviction. And more recently, he was seen on an episode of the Starz crime drama Power

Ethan Cutkosky first appeared on ‘Law & Order: SVU’ in 2013

Cutkosky made his Law & Order: SVU debut as Henry Menser in 2013. In the season 14 episode, “Born Psychopath,” his character, then a young teen, is suspected of harming his younger sister. 

Upon investigation, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) discover that the boy has violent tendencies. After Henry slashes his mother with a knife, kills a friend’s dog, and shoots Amaro, he is sentenced to serve time at a juvenile detention center until he turns 18.

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He’s back as Henry Mesner on ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Cutkosky returns as Henry Mesner in Law & Order: SVU, Season 22, Episode 14, “Post-Graduate Psychopath.” In the episode, Rollins (Kelli Giddish) looks into his case just as he is to be released from Juvenile Detention.

In a recent chat with TV Insider, Cutkosky talked about his return to Law & Order: SVU and revealed how thrilled he was when producers asked him to reprise the role. “I didn’t have a timeframe or expectation, but when the Law & Order team reached out this past year, it was very exciting to hear that we would be able to get this reoccurring,” the actor said.

Playing such a disturbed character might look daunting. But Cutkosky suggested it’s just the type of role he’s been looking for. 

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“It was a nice challenge coming from playing Carl Gallagher for the past 11 years,” he explained.”They wanted to write a character that is born on the psychopathy level. These are roles that I want to take into my career and move forward.”

“And so it was a very exciting yet daunting role to take on, especially at this age,” Cutkosky added. “When I was 13, I had only a sliver of amount of understanding comparatively to 21 now, so I was very excited to be able to take this at this age and put my all into it.”

New episodes of Law & Order: SVU air Thursday nights at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.