LAW & ORDER: SVU Vet Tamara Tunie Previews Her ORGANIZED CRIME Guest Spot - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER: SVU Vet Tamara Tunie Previews Her ORGANIZED CRIME Guest Spot

January 24, 2024 by  

Melinda Warner on Organized Crime

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT — “Season 25 Anniversary Party” — Pictured: Tamara Tunie at Edge at Hudson Yards on January 16, 2024 — (Photo by: Cindy Ord/NBC)

When LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME’s Stabler (Christopher Meloni) needs help with a complex homicide on the Thursday, January 25 episode, “Deliver Us From Evil,” he reaches out to an old friend: LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT’s Chief M.E. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie).

Though Stabler has been back in the LAW & ORDER world since 2021, this marks the first time Meloni and Tunie have officially reunited on-screen since 2011. (Notably, the duo guest-starred in SVU’s 2021 hour “Trick-Rolled at the Moulin,” but their characters did not cross paths; Warner did ask about how Elliot was doing, though.)

For Tunie, this is also her first time on ORGANIZED CRIME—and her first time on a L&O show since SVU’s 500th episode. (Tunie appeared in SVU seasons 2-17, 19, 21-23, including being a series regular in 7-12.)

And longtime fans of the franchise–and Warner—have been very vocally ecstatic about the return since the promo for “Deliver Us From Evil” revealed the character would be back. “I’ve been hearing about [the fan joy],” Tunie tells Give Me My Remote. “I don’t [go] a lot on social media, but I know there’s been a lot of excitement and energy on social media about Warner’s coming on to OC, so that makes me happy.”

Here, the actress talks about stepping back into Warner’s shoes, working with Meloni again, and celebrating SVU’s 25th season.

This is your first time on ORGANIZED CRIME. How did this guest spot come about?
We shot this right before the Christmas holiday, and I was planning to drive down to my family on a Thursday. And on Tuesday night, my agent and the manager texted me and said, “You’re in the upcoming episode of ORGANIZED CRIME and it shoots on Thursday.” And I thought, “Wait, what? What is happening? Who?” So that’s how it happened. It was like that. So from Tuesday night to Thursday morning, I was in the morgue.

Oh, wow, a whirlwind.
It is. You just never know.

What can you tease about why Warner is consulted for this case?
There’s been an explosion and an Imam is killed. And there’s suspicion that the explosion was not what killed him—that he was actually killed prior to the explosion. And so Meloni comes to Warner, because she’s the best in the business, and wants her to take a closer look and see if there was something else that killed the person before the explosion. And so he knows that he can count on her to dig deeper and really get to the root of the cause of death.


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A post shared by Tamara Tunie (@msttunie)

You and Chris have remained real-life friends beyond the franchise. What was it like on day one of filming when you were back playing these characters together again?
It was just great. There’s nothing better than working with your friends, right? And, also, this is his show. He’s in a different space. And so it was just really great to be on set with him, this comfortable in his domain, and him welcoming me into his house to play. So it was great.

You’ve done many projects in recent years outside of your time in the LAW & ORDER world, including SEE, COWBOY BEBOP, and the film I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY. When you have to step back into Warner’s shoes, and into that lab, what is the process for you as a performer getting back into that space?
Oh, wow. Yeah, it’s interesting, because it’s familiar, but yet it’s different. Because [on ORGANIZED CRIME,] it was a different show and a different crew. I hadn’t had to be Warner in a while; I’ve been a lot of other people over the past few years. So it was like taking an old pair of jeans out of the drawer that you hadn’t had on in a while and putting them on and seeing if they still fit. Fortunately, they did.

Generally speaking, we’ve been seeing Warner in a professional capacity when you’ve popped up in recent years. Where do you think she is personally? Or has it been too many years to even guess?
It has indeed been so many years. And, you know, when I was on the show, her personal life would change dramatically depending on the episode. One day she was married, the next day she wasn’t. Suddenly she had a [kid] who was in school. I was like, “Oh, didn’t know that.” And then we learned that she trained in the military and she was a vet. So all those things were surprises!

A few years back, OC star Danielle Moné Truitt posted on social media about your importance to the L&O world. Were you guys able to connect at all during your guest spot?
I first met Danielle at an opening night on Broadway…I think it might have been “Topdog/Underdog.” She came over to me and introduced herself, and I said, “I know who you are!” And so she’s like, “I just wanted to say hello and I just love your work, and I’ve been an admirer of yours.” So it was really great. And then I got to see her again the other night for the [SVU] 25th anniversary [party], so that was wonderful, too.

Melinda Warner on Organized Crime

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT — “Trick-Rolled at the Moulin” Episode 22013 — Pictured: Tamara Tunie as M.E. Melinda Warner — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

That event brought out many, many people from the show’s nearly-quarter of a century history. What did it mean to you to be at that event and see so many of your former colleagues?
It meant a great deal. Sometimes—well, oftentimes—I don’t think about the 23 years that I put in that show. And going to that event, it really just kind of landed on me how much time [it has been] and how many people that I had worked with and connected with. And also the impact that the show itself has had on so many people’s lives in various ways.

It was a lot. It was a lot to acknowledge and go, “Wow, this really is something momentous.”

You really have been one of the most consistent presences on SVU since your season 2 debut. Has anyone reached out about possibly returning for this milestone 25th season?
Well, there hasn’t been any word. But like I said at the top of this interview, [when I was filming ORGANIZED CRIME,] Tuesday night I didn’t have a job, Thursday morning I was in the morgue. You never know! [Laughs.]

Update, 3:17 PM: Watch part of the reunion between Warner and Stabler!

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.



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