‘Law & Order: SVU’: Why Hayden Panettiere Is One of the Show’s Most Iconic Guest Stars

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and other shows in the franchise have been known for having notable guest stars each episode. Actress Hayden Panettiere has been on the show for more than one occasion, making her a standout when it comes to guest actors.

Hayden Panettiere in 2019
Hayden Panettiere in 2019 | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Hayden Panettiere successfully transitioned from child actress to adult actress

Panettiere became a super successful child actress in her younger years. She first appeared as legacy character Sarah Roberts on ABC’s now-defunct soap opera, One Life to Live, portraying the character from 1994-1997.

She continued to stay in soaps when she was cast as another legacy character, Lizzie Spaulding, in CBS’s Guiding Light from 1998-2000. Her breakthrough role arguably came in 2000 when she starred in the film Remember the Titans with Denzel Washington.

As she got into her teen years, she starred on the Disney Channel original movie, Tiger Cruise. Other roles over the years include Bring It On: All or Nothing, I Love You, Beth Cooper, and Scream 4.

She also had leading roles in two television shows, Claire Bennett in Heroes (2006-2010) and Juliette Barnes in Nashville (2012-2018).

She played two roles on ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Panettiere is a member of a select group of actors who have had the opportunity to guest-star on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The actress got to guest star on the series twice, playing two different characters. She first appeared as a child, back in 2001, and appeared a few years later in 2005 when she was a teen.

Both characters had huge story arcs and were the focal points of their episodes. In 2001, she guest-starred as the character Ashley Black for the season 2 episode, “Abuse.” Black was the daughter of musicians who were away from home and traveling a lot.

Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) began investigating the family and keeping tabs on Black because she saw bruises on her and thought she may have been abused. However, it was revealed that Black had been intentionally hurting herself to get her parents’ attention since they were too busy for her most of the time and left her with nannies.

In 2005 for the sixth season of the show, she guest-starred as Angela Agnelli for the episode “Hooked.” In this episode, she played the best friend of another teen, Lisa Downey, who was found dead. It turned out that a doctor was having sex with both of them. Agnelli killed the doctor after he attempted to blackmail her with a recording.

Law & Order: SVU is expected to debut a new season later this year on NBC.