For over two decades, appearing on "Law & Order" -- or one of its nearly nine thousand spinoffs -- has been a rite of passage for actors looking to make it big in television, film and theater. If you haven't ended up dead in a back alley, on the stand in front of a righteous public defender or being grilled by a tough cop while ominous chimes chung-chung in the background, well, you're probably a nobody.
But you know who is a somebody? Leighton Meester, who appeared on "Law & Order" way back in the '90s when she was just 13 years old.
These days, of course, Meester is about to appear opposite Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg in the new comedy "That's My Boy," which hits theaters on June 15. And over the past few years she's turned her starring role on the hit CW drama "Gossip Girl" into a launching pad for a Hollywood career that includes big-screen efforts like "The Roommate" and "Date Night."
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But back in 1999, Meester was still just an unknown kid when she appeared on "Law & Order," playing a student who just might have important information about the death of one of her school chums. It's not a particularly major or glamorous role, but for a kid looking to get a break in the business, it's a certifiable big deal.
Here's a look at the young Meester going toe to toe with the late, great Jerry Orbach. Nobody puts Queen Bee in a corner!