In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode “Alta Kockers,” a popular, young, up-and-coming author Bobbi O’Rourke (guest star Calhoun Koening) is killed outside her book signing event. She went outside for a smoke and was beaten to death with a brick. There’s no sign of sexual assault but the SVU unit is brought in as it might be a hate crime. Bobbi was transgender. The investigation leads to a decades-old secret kept between two reclusive brothers, Joseph Edelman and Benjamin Edelman, who live in a cluttered old castle in New York City. “Alta Kockers” is Yiddish for old timers, literally “old shitters.”
Joseph Edelman is portrayed by Oscar-nominated actor Judd Hirsch, 83, who’s best known for his roles on Superior Donuts (donut shop owner Arthur), Taxi (cab driver Alex Reiger), Dear John (divorcee John), and in the films Ordinary People (psychiatrist Dr. Berger), and A Beautiful Mind (Princeton Professor Helinger), among many others.
Benjamin Edelman is portrayed by Wallace Shawn, 75. The veteran actor is best known for his current role on Young Sheldon (Dr. John Sturgis), and in a variety of films including Clueless (Mr. Hall), Vanya on 42nd Street (Vanya), The Princess Bride (Vizzini), The Hotel New Hampshire (Freud), My Dinner with Andre, and Woody Allen’s Manhattan (Jeremiah, Diane Keaton’s ex-husband), among many others. Shawn, the son of the late renowned The New Yorker editor William Shawn, is also the voice of Gilbert Huph in The Incredibles and Rex in the Toy Story movies.
Fun fact: Hirsch and Shawn (both of whom were born in New York City) worked together before. They were on two episodes of Taxi together in the early 1980s. Shawn played Elaine’s (Marilu Henner) boyfriend Arnie Ross. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Thursdays at 10 pm on NBC, right after I Feel Bad.