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'Law & Order: SVU' locks up a slew of guest stars

Nia VardalosReturning tonight with a new installment, NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has booked a couple of guest stars for shows that will air in late January and early February.

In an episode scheduled to be broadcast on January 30, Academy Award nominee Nia Vardalos – star and writer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding – will play Counselor Minonna Efron, whose client is on trial for assault and murder. Mistaking her disorganized manner for incompetence, assistant district attorney Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) believes the case to be an easy victory, but his confidence begins to unravel when she repeatedly thwarts his efforts. The January 30 episode will also feature Victoria Rowell of The Young and the Restless and Fred Norris of The Howard Stern Show in a cameo appearance.

Harold PerrineauOne week later on February 6, Harold Perrineau (Lost, Oz) will assume the role of a career criminal named Brian Traymor, the prime suspect in a rape-murder case tied to a number of other investigations in the country. Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden returns as FBI Agent Dana Lewis, who thinks Traymor is guilty, although Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) isn't quite as certain. Jay Karnes, who portrayed LAPD detective Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach on FX's landmark cop drama The Shield, will also appear in the episode as the fiancé of one of the victims and a friend of Agent Lewis.

With the February sweeps period beginning in less than a month, I'm sure this is only the beginning of the announcements about guest stars on our favorite shows. Are you anxious for a "Big Fat" SVU?

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