When Joe Biden Appeared on Law & Order: SVU

Mariska Hargitay and Joe Biden in a 2016 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Mariska Hargitay and Joe Biden in a 2016 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. / Michael Parmelee/NBC - © 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. But back in 2016, he was standing in the spotlight of a different kind. On September 28, 2016, the then-vice president to Barack Obama made a surprise cameo on Law & Order: SVU.

The episode, titled "Making a Rapist," was a spin on the Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer. It centered around a man who had his rape conviction overturned, only to be accused of raping another woman. The episode opened with Biden praising Lt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and her team for weeding through a backlog of untested rape kits.

While the plot was a work of dramatic fiction, the subject matter itself was staked squarely in reality. For decades, Biden had been working to help victims of sexual abuse, most notably by bringing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to Congress in 1990. During his vice presidency, Biden made campus rape and sexual assault a major point of focus.

That 2016 guest spot wasn't Biden's first television cameo. In 2012, during the fifth season of Parks and Recreation, he made a brief appearance to meet Leslie Knope—Amy Poehler's Biden-loving public servant, who also happens to have a major crush on Biden. He made a second appearance in 2017, as part of the series finale.

In 2014, Biden also joined forces with Julia Louis-Dreyfus's fictional VP, Selina Meyer, for a promo for her award-winning HBO series Veep.

Though Biden is likely going to be too busy to pursue any other acting opportunities in the near future, he's built a pretty impressive IMDb resume, so we're excited to see where the politician's TV career might take him next.