The Law & Order: SVU Episode You Forgot Starred Melissa Joan Hart

Melissa Joan Hart has not one but two iconic characters to her name — three, if you count "Melissa & Joey" co-lead Mel. The talented young actor originally broke out in teen sitcom "Clarissa Explains It All," in which she played the titular fashionista. The show aired from 1991 to 1994 but, rather than resting on her laurels, Hart returned to the world of children's television just a couple years later with a show that would turn out to be an even bigger hit, the classic "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." 

Although the former child star is all grown up nowadays, and a wife and mother no less — her "favorite role yet," according to Twitter — for millions of fans all over the world, Hart will always be Sabrina. Or Clarissa, or maybe even both. As Glamour notes, the actor briefly flirted with a film career thanks to starring roles in the likes of "Drive Me Crazy," but she's predominantly known as a TV star, which extends to Hart's fruitful, ongoing partnership with Lifetime, whose original movies she frequently leads. 

Hart is the first to admit she never expected to act full time for the rest of her life, reasoning, "I just thought I was lucky I had a show, 'Clarissa,' and that college would lead me to my next career." But she's incredibly grateful for everything that's happened in the ensuing decades, including being cast on "Law & Order: SVU," which was an unexpected move but one Hart made with absolute confidence. 

Melissa Joan Hart's character was a huge departure from Sabrina

InStyle confirms Melissa Joan Hart appeared in a Season 9 episode of "Law & Order: SVU" entitled "Impulsive." It aired in 2007. And, in keeping with a performer who was looking to try something new, the role was the antithesis of some of Hart's most famous characters. 

She played a high school teacher named Sarah who, after being accused of sexually assaulting one of her male students, is forced to acknowledge that he actually raped her. Sarah's testimony ultimately gets the young man in question sent off to rehab, to deal with his brain disorder and sex addiction. 

On fighting for the kind of roles she deserves, Hart admitted to Glamour, "I learned quickly that everyone has an idea of what you should be or what they want you to be." The former child star was eager to prove herself as a serious performer, but that meant ensuring she was in the right position, too.  

When Hart wanted to be on "Law & Order: SVU," the actor smartly befriended series stalwart Mariska Hargitay. "I've made friends at Lifetime, and now I can go to them," Hart explained. "It's important to have those connections with people you have a chemistry with and that you trust." 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).