Why FBI: International Star Luke Kleintank Would Have Quit Acting If Not For Law And Order: SVU
Fans have Law & Order: SVU to thank for Luke Kleintank going on to star in FBI: International!
FBI: International debuted back in 2021 with a new team of agents based out of Budapest cracking cases all across Europe. International quickly became a hit and earned a two-season renewal along with FBI and FBI: Most Wanted before the finales even aired. Surprisingly, however, leading man Luke Kleintank almost quit the acting biz many years ago, and it’s only thanks to Law & Order: SVU that he didn’t. Kleintank spoke with CinemaBlend for Season 1, and shared the story of how SVU saved his dream of becoming an actor more than a decade before FBI: International.
With both FBI: International and Law & Order: SVU falling under the Dick Wolf banner of TV shows, they do technically share the same universe, and it’s not impossible for Luke Kleintank’s Scott Forrester to someday appear alongside Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson over on SVU. As it happens, however, he already appeared on SVU back in 2009, and FBI: International never would have happened for him if he hadn’t landed that role. Speaking with CinemaBlend, the actor told the story of landing that SVU role and why it kept him in the entertainment industry:
Luke Kleintank started his attempts to break into acting at a young age, but those early years didn’t go too well for him, and a seven-hour commute wouldn’t be easy on anybody when success wasn’t guaranteed. A potential role on SVU could have been a game-changer, as it was already ten seasons in at that point and a proven hit. It seemed like he was finally about to get his shot… when the bus broke down. The actor continued:
If ever it would seem like the stars weren’t aligning, the bus breaking down en route to what could be a big break could be it! Kleintank had already put in years of work, and his callback could have been ruined by mechanical issues. But that wasn’t the end of the story:
When everything could have been ruined by the bus breaking down and Luke Kleintank missing his audition time, the SVU casting director gave him the chance he needed to earn his guest spot and make his first – but certainly not last – appearance in the Wolf Entertainment TV universe. The actor didn’t forget just how close he came to quitting, and in fact passed the story along to the casting director years later. Kleintank concluded, saying:
More than ten years passed between Luke Kleintank landing that first acting role on Law & Order: SVU Season 10 and the beginning of FBI: International, but the latter wouldn’t have happened without the former. Jonathan Strauss and International showrunner Derek Haas certainly have experience with working on multiple Dick Wolf shows as well.
Strauss is credited as casting director on all of the One Chicago shows (including the short-lived Chicago Justice), the three current Law & Order shows (including SVU) and all three FBIs, including of course FBI: International. For his part, Haas has served as a showrunner on Chicago Fire from the very beginning back in 2012.
Season 1 of FBI: International ended on a cliffhanger that could mean big things for the beginning of Season 2, and Kleintank was able to preview at least one dynamic that remains solid as a rock. The show will return to CBS in the fall, undoubtedly with plenty of new action-packed cases for Forrester and the rest of the Fly Team to tackle.
If you want to check out the role that convinced Luke Kleintank not to quit acting, you can find the “Snatched” episode of SVU Season 10 streaming with a Hulu subscription and/or a Peacock subscription. You can also revisit the first season of FBI: International starring Kleintank with a Paramount Plus subscription.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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