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I Was an Extra on 'Law Order: SVU'

Date October 19, 2011
It's a rainy Friday afternoon in late September and I'm in The Crazy Horse Cabaret, a strip club in the Bronx. To my left is a man dressed like a bloody doctor, to my right is a taller gentleman dressed as a caveman.

We're not speaking, although it looks like we're deep in conversation. The doctor orders shots from the

...
It's a rainy Friday afternoon in late September and I'm in The Crazy Horse Cabaret, a strip club in the Bronx. To my left is a man dressed like a bloody doctor, to my right is a taller gentleman dressed as a caveman.

We're not speaking, although it looks like we're deep in conversation. The doctor orders shots from the bartender. I'm handed a glass, but the clear liquid is not vodka; I'm doing a shot of water. Don't feel sorry for me though -- we're on set of the 'Law & Order: SVU' Halloween episode.

I Was an Extra on 'Law Order: SVU'

I got to experience the magic of TV firsthand as a background actor on the long-running NBC crime drama to get even more insight into how the show gets made, plus some time with the stars for one-on-one interviews.

What don't you see on TV? How about the fact that it takes roughly 20 minutes to shoot a portion of a scene -- and that's just from one angle. On traditional multi-camera shows like 'SVU,' they shoot scenes from a certain angle first, then film the exact same scene from the opposite angle, and sometimes a few more.

My scene was set in a Lower East Side bar on Halloween, but we filmed in the Bronx. That's TV for you. And, like the experience of most background actors, my scene didn't make the cut. That's typical show business.

In 'Missing Pieces,' the detectives race to find a missing baby. A young couple claim their car was stolen -- with baby inside -- on their way into Manhattan and the SVU' team must travel around New York searching for clues.

Below, check out my behind-the-scenes gallery to see what it's like being a background actor for a day. While on set, I interviewed 'SVU' stars Ice-T (Detective Fin Tutuola) and Danny Pino (Detective Nick Amaro) and included some of their comments in the gallery.

'Law & Order: SVU' airs Wednesday, 10PM ET on NBC

Follow Chris on Twitter.

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