TV & Movies

Bradley Whitford's Law & Order: SVU Performance Paid Tribute To His Late Mother

“Law & Order: SVU” Season 24, Episode 15, titled “King of the Moon,” features Whitford in the role of Pence Humphreys, a man with dementia who confesses to the murder of his wife despite not remembering having done the dark deed. As it turns out, Whitford used his extensive experience with his late mother’s own cognitive condition to bring as much realism to the character as he could.

In an interview with People after the episode aired, Whitford explained his connection with the disease. “My mother died about 10 years ago,” the actor said. “She lived a very long life, but she had — it wasn’t exactly [dementia], but she was living with me at the end of her life when she had this cognitive confusion.” When the time came for Whitford to play Humphreys, he tapped into what he had witnessed with his mother.

Of course, “King of the Moon” is far from the first time that “Law & Order: SVU” has tackled subject matter of this type. Season 19, Episode 22, titled “Mama,” focuses on a victim dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, for instance. However, it seems the show went about broaching the topic with a particularly strong amount of nuance, rather than becoming yet another “Law & Order: SVU” episode that went too far. “As I always am, I was worried about overdoing it, because you want to do justice to how tragic a condition like this is,” Whitford said.

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