Wentworth Miller is returning to Law and Order: SVU this season where he plays Assistant District Attorney Isaiah Holmes, the first out LGBTQ+ district attorney on the show. This is his first acting role since the 48-year-old actor declared that he was done playing straight roles.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Miller talked about what it’s like to play Holmes, what’s exciting about returning to SVU, and what kind of stories he wants to tell now that he’s done playing straight characters.
In this latest episode, Holmes has been promoted to lead the Brooklyn DA’s Civil Rights Unit. In “The Long Arm of the Witness,” he’s pulled back into an SVU case when one of his old classmates comes under investigation.
“He’s a character with multiple layers -- a man of integrity and intelligence, burdened with guilt, shame, and in his mind, a lot to atone for,” showrunner Warren Leight told EW of what went into creating Miller's character. “Early in his life, his ‘otherness’ left him unsure and passive, now his identity as a queer POC empowers him.”
Leight said that when working on the character, Miller said that he sees Holmes as someone who, “knows who he is/what he stands for, and is fearless in advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves.”
For Miller, playing a role like Holmes not only feels much more truthful, but is also more exciting. “I don't have to spend time servicing straightness, straight relationships,” he said. “Acting is investigating for me, mapping new territory, articulating things I don't get to articulate in my day-to-day. Mapping straightness, at this point... feels like a dead end.”
In the interview, Miller also spoke about what kind of stories he’s excited to tell, and see, now that he’s done telling straight ones. “I'd like to tell — to watch — more stories where gay characters are informed by their struggles, but not defined,” he said, adding, “Not getting sacrificed so straight characters can enjoy some kind of epiphany. I don't think that's too much to ask.”
He went on to say that “It's so important queer audiences — queer kids — see stories that don't center suffering. See us empowered, in positions of authority, moving through the world with purpose, confidence, dignity. It makes it easier to imagine those things are available to us in real life too.”
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Thursdays at 9pm ET/PT on NBC.