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Betty Gilpin Says She Was Accidentally Left in a Body Bag on ‘Law and Order’ Set

The "Gaslit" star got her start playing a corpse on the hit network procedural.

Betty Gilpin attends the premiere for "Gaslit" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, April 18, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Betty Gilpin

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Few television shows cycle through actors faster than the “Law and Order” franchise, and many a great thespian has launched their career by appearing as a criminal-of-the-week on the NBC series.

Betty Gilpin was no stranger to the show in her early years, appearing on both the flagship “Law and Order” show and many of its spinoffs. Appearing on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” this week, the “GLOW” star opened up about the multitude of roles she played on “Law and Order,” including “a pedophile with vocal fry” and “a lesbian with acne.” But her most memorable experience on the show happened during what should have been her easiest role: playing a corpse.

“I was found naked in an oil drum — Vincent D’Onofrio found my naked, dead body,” Gilpin said, before adding that she was almost abandoned in a body bag. “I just had to sort of be in there. They called cut, like, ‘That’s lunch, guys! Great day! I hear footsteps on gravel getting further and further away, van doors closing… 10 seconds goes by, I hear one far-away PA being like, ‘Oh my God,’ and footsteps coming towards me.”

It’s fortunate that the PA remembered she was there and came back for her, because otherwise Gilpin may have never been found. The actress joked that her fear of seeming difficult on set kept her from calling for help. “I didn’t want to be high maintenance,” she said. “I wanted to work again.”

Work again she did. Gilpin currently stars in “Gaslit,” the new Starz drama that offers a modern take on the Watergate scandal. Gilpin plays Maureen Kane Dean, the wife of John Dean, the Nixon White House lawyer turned star witness in the congressional hearings. And if that’s not enough, she recently re-teamed with “GLOW” creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, appearing in an episode of their new Apple TV+ anthology series “Roar.”
“My personal brand is playing women who are not OK,” Gilpin said of her “Roar” character. “And this is no exception.”

“Gaslit” premieres Sunday, April 24 on Starz. “Roar” is now streaming on Apple TV+.

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