Zap2Zip; August 15, 2008
A Conversation with Neal Baer
Of course I have to ask you about the casting of Ellen Burstyn. Is she going to be in just one episode or several?
Episode four, for sure. After that, I don't know, we'll see. She's definitely in the fourth hour, which is going to air in October. And she plays Elliot's mother, Bernadette Stabler.
And she has some mental issues?
She suffers from a psychiatric disorder, yes.
Long-time fans are wondering why we've heard about Stabler's father in the past-- that he was abusive --but we've never heard a peep about his mother before.
There's a reason for that. He doesn't talk about her.
And we're going to find out why in episode four?
We're definitely going to find out why.
How did this storyline come about? Was Ellen's casting first or...?
The story came first, but she was our first choice to play the part. We wrote it with her in mind and we're absolutely thrilled to have the person we thought of in this really important role. We're always very lucky that we get phenomenal actors. You know, we have two Emmy nominations this year for guest stars Robin Williams and Cynthia Nixon. Leslie Caron and Marcia Gay Harden were nominated last year and Leslie won. But yes, when we decided to bring Stabler's mother into the show, it was for a good reason. It has to do with his family, there's a crisis of faith. CCH Pounder plays his lawyer, which is great. She's been a
lawyer on the show before, but because she's such a tough shark, she's now going to come and be Stabler's lawyer.
His lawyer for…?
That's the big thing.
That's what you can't tell me.
It's a big part of the show.
And how about James Brolin?
Jim Brolin and Chris Elliot star in episode where [Jim] plays an astronaut who was Stabler's mentor and his boss when Stabler was in the Marines. So there's a connection between the two of them and very much of a flirting connection between him and Benson as well.
Okay, and regarding Elliot, I've also heard that we'll be seeing more with his daughter this season, she's in some trouble, possibly sex, drugs. Does that tie in with the Ellen Burstyn episode?
It does indeed. Remember I told you something about credit cards?