Patti Smith may be best known as an influential punk rocker, but five years ago, she made her television debut on an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. This week, she sat down with actor Ethan Hawke for wide-ranging discussion at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival about her career, and although much of their talk focused on her musical accomplishments, Smith did take the time to recount how she landed a role opposite Vincent D’Onofrio on one of her favorite crime dramas.
Smith told the audience that she was never really a fan of TV shows until she started touring with her band in Europe and watching German and Polish-dubbed episodes of Law & Order.
“Night after night, if we’re in a hotel, you have all this agitated energy and all this adrenaline and you can’t sleep,” Smith explained. “So I’m not much of a TV watcher, but I started watching TV, and the thing that I got really attracted to was this Law & Order: Criminal Intent show, which I had never seen because I hadn’t owned a TV.”
Smith added that she got so hooked that she brought her newfound detective show addiction back home with her to the states after her tours were over.
“Finally, I just went and bought a f—ing TV and started watching it at home and seeing it in English,” Smith said. “And I fell in love with it.”
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Smith named British crime dramas like Luther and Broadchurch as a few of her favorites, but she still holds a special place in her heart for Criminal Intent, especially because D’Onofrio invited her to guest star in a small scene on the show.
“I loved the show so much, and he let me come and watch them film it at Chelsea Piers,” Smith said. “And then it got canceled, and they had nothing to lose, so he thought he would give me a scene.”