2008 was the year of Law & Order for Laverne Cox. Her first role was in Season 9, Episode 16 (“Closet”) of Law & Order: SVU. She plays Candace, the manager of the gym that employs murder suspect Freddie Ramirez (David Del Rio). When detectives Stabler (Christopher Meloni) and Benson (Mariska Hargitay) ask her for information, she immediately begins flirting with Stabler. Her appearance is short but unforgettable.
Cox later spoke to ET about the role, saying: “CSR was my first big job. It was the job that made me. …this episode has been re-aired so many times that it funded a large part of my transition. Many Thanks, law & order!”
Cox was next seen in Law & Order in Season 19, Episode 6 (“Sweetie”). Detective Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) is a truck driver on the search for a suspected murderer and meets Minnie (Cox) at a rest stop restaurant. She asks him if he wants to party and he tells her maybe it could be him, but he’s looking for a man, not her. She replies, “Honey, I’m more of a man than you can take,” before clarifying that he’s actually looking for someone younger and white.
Both of Cox’s “Law & Order” appearances are brief, but they are memorable roles for trans women who, a year later, would lead to an appearance in “Bored to Death” and her Emmy-nominated role of Sophia Burset in “Orange Is the New.” led Black” in 2013. As Cox writes on her website, appearing in Law & Order was “a rite of passage for a New York actor back then.”