Inside the Unexpected Friendship That Formed Between a Law & Order: SVU Star and an Influencer

Food blogger Carissa Stanton bought her first house only to find a mysterious note left by a former owner, who turned out to be Law & Order: SVU actor Dann Florek.

By Tierney Bricker Oct 25, 2022 5:41 PMTags
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A food influencer bought her first home, only to discover a Law & Order: SVU star once lived there. This is their story. Dun-dun.

Carissa Stanton, a popular food blogger who posts recipes under the handle @broccyourbody, moved into her house in Venice, Calif. last November and started renovations a few months after. While the construction workers were demolishing the fireplace, they discovered an envelope containing a handwritten letter and old photographs. 

"I was about to throw it away, honestly," Carissa admitted to E! News. "I opened it up and there are all these pictures of this adorable couple that lived in my house in the '80s. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is the cutest thing ever.'"

Given her platform that includes some 379,000 Instagram followers, Carissa wanted to share the "sweet hidden treasure," but she crossed out the last name because "I didn't want to put these random people on blast," she explained.

But after posting the photo on her Story, Carissa quickly discovered the man in the picture was far from anonymous. 

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"I opened my messages to see what people are saying and I am flooded with messages," she recalled. "Everyone is like, 'That's Dann Florek from Law & Order: SVU!" I Googled the name and lo and behold he's so famous. I had no idea!"

Florek made his first appearance as Captain Donald Cragen on 1990 and has appeared in over 400 episodes across the iconic Law & Order franchise, most notably on Special Victims Unit. But Stanton had never seen an episode of the NBC series before finding the letter written by his wife, Karen Florek, while they were renting the bungalow home in the late '80s. 

Carissa Stanton

After learning who they were, Carissa decided to reach out to the couple on Instagram and they quickly formed a plan to get together for lunch. But before they could even schedule their first meeting, Carissa had an unexpected run-in with Dann and Karen, who still live in the same neighborhood. 

"I ran into them randomly on a walk," Carissa said. "I was like, 'Wait, are you Dann and Karen? I'm Carissa, I live in your house.' Then they came over for lunch and brought a bottle of champagne."

Carissa Stanton

"We were sitting in my little nook area by the kitchen and Dann told me he found out he got the offer for Law & Order while he was sitting in that exact spot, which was super cool," Carissa continued. "They have so many special memories here, which is adorable."

After bonding over food, the couple recently took Carissa out to dinner, during which she said Dann asked her "thought-provoking questions" about her career as an influencer, "like how I've changed as a person since I started and how this lifestyle is effecting me, which are things I don't normally think about."

Carissa Stanton

"Everything happens for a reason and I have so much to learn from both Dann and Karen," Carissa continued. "Our paths definitely crossed for a reason."

Carissa's Instagram followers have become invested in this "unlikely friendship," with Carissa describing the response she's received to her Stories about her interactions with the Floreks as "insane."

"People are like, 'This is the craziest thing I have ever seen. You are living my dream! You're having dinner with Captain Cragen!'" she said. "So many people think it's the coolest thing ever and it kind of is. People's favorite food blogger meeting this SVU star, it's just hilarious."

While Carissa's parents are big Law & Order fans—"They love that we're friends an think it's really cool"—she still hasn't watched an episode, though she's planning to change that soon after making a promise to a new pal.

Carissa Stanton

"I told Dann I'm going to watch it," Carissa shared. "It's on the to-do list."

As is another get-together with the couple.

"I want to have them over for dinner," she  said. "We're for sure going to get together again. It's funny because we realized we go to all the same restaurants and all the same places, so we're neighborhood buddies."

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