'Law & Order SVU' actress, 'Right Stuff' actor given OSI mission immersion

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

Over the years, the Office of Special Investigations has welcomed distinguished visitors from various walks of life to better understand its mission of Defending the Nation, Serving Justice, Protecting the Integrity of the Department of the Air Force and Finding the Truth.

On July 1, 2021, via the combined coordination efforts of units at Joint Base Andrews, Md., and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C., OSI opened its doors to one of the stars of the television drama series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, actress Jamie Gray Hyder, and her guest, actor Michael Trotter.

Since 2019, Hyder has played Detective Katriona “Kat” Tamin on SVU, while Trotter recently starred as Air Force pilot Gus Grissom in the Disney series, The Right Stuff, based on the Mercury astronauts.

They were given a five hour orientation to hear about, and experience, various skillsets that make OSI tick.

Upon arrival, they were escorted by members of the Protective Services Operations Foreign Dignitary Team from the 1st Field Investigations Squadron, Detachment 5, JBAB, who integrated the DV Party on PSO.

First stop was the 7th FIS at Andrews for an OSI Mission Briefing, a question and answer session, followed by a visit to its OSI Hall of Heroes (the Fallen).

They then received a 2nd FIS mission brief covering polygraph, offensive counterintelligence and cyber operations, plus a tech shop laboratory walk through.  

The DV Party was then shown a “House of Horrors” demonstration and Technical Surveillance Countermeasures, which included a technical demo and a blood spatter demo by Forensic Science Consultants.

The afternoon featured an hour-long stop at the 316th Security Forces, Support Squadron, Combat Arms Range, where special agents from OSI 7 FIS, Det. 331 and 1 FIS, Det. 5, enabled the DV Party to safely familiarize themselves with firing various weapons.  

A final question and answer session and a gift presentation capped the DV Party’s visit. Afterword, they shared their takeaways from the OSI orientation.

“The attention to detail in every aspect of OSI's execution is remarkable,” said Hyder. “Whether it be the tactics of a security detail, forensic analysis techniques, polygraph execution, counter-surveillance technology - the devil is in the details at every turn.”

“I was surprised at how nimble OSI capabilities are,” said Trotter. “As Jamie mentioned they cover a lot of ground operationally, (from fraud and sexual assault to international cyber security) which is remarkable, but they also cover a lot of ground literally. Their scope is global and yet they maintain a unique and impressive ability to function efficiently within that broad purview.”

What will they take back to the “set” that will help them portray their character(s)?

“My visit to OSI solidified the fact that our military is made up of many different personality types, Hyder said. “TV, film, and video games can often perpetuate a singular stereotype of the military 'persona', but as the field of battle has expanded, so has the portfolio of personality types that make up our armed forces.” 

Would they recommend this type of immersion to other actors who portray law enforcement or military characters?

“100 percent! It’s certainly helpful and necessary for an actor to read as much as one can about the life you've been tasked with portraying,” said Trotter. “There simply is no substitute for the type of hands-on learning one is afforded when the real life professionals open the doors of their expertise to you and let you get your hands dirty. The level of access OSI gave us is the type of invaluable research experience an actor needs to ultimately accomplish what we are paid to do: tell the truth.”

From the OSI perspective, that was an important aspect of the visit as well.

“For the OSI team, providing insight on what it’s like to be a member of the military and in law enforcement, to someone who portrays both on screen, was a very rewarding experience,” said Special Agent Jillian Wilde, OSI Det. 331, Washington Field Office. “Ms. Hyder not only showed an interest in many aspects of OSI’s mission, but also what agents do and see on the job that affects them in their professional and personal lives. Hopefully, our presentation helped Ms. Hyder play her current and future roles in a true-to-life manner.”

“It’s great to see these folks from outside our world peek in and see the same greatness in our people and in our mission we get to see every day,” said OSI Commander, Brig. Gen. Terry L. Bullard.”