'American Pie's' Natasha Lyonne Earns Praise for Portrayal of Mental Patient on 'Law & Order: SVU' (Video)

Natasha Lyonne on Law & Order: SVU - H 2011

American Pie star Natasha Lyonne hit the small screen Wednesday night in NBC's Law & Order: SVU.

The actress -- who returns to the big screen in the fourth American Pie film, American Reunion, next year -- played an alleged rape victim who turned out to be a patient in a psychiatric hospital.

A fellow patient claims he witnessed the incident, but when confront Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Rollins (Kelli Giddish), she denies have been assaulted. [Watch a clip below.]

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The guest-starring turn earned the actress a huge amount of praise from the viewers, who hit Twitter to share their opinions.

Wrote a Twitter user named Strokefest: "Let's just take all the awards and give them to Natasha Lyonne. #svu"

Jen Rabulan-Bertram also chimed in: "Natasha Lyonne on tonight's @nbcsvu is riveting. She plays cray cray oh so well."

Added Barry Dale Johnson: "Natasha Lyonne is wicked in SVU tonight."

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And Imani Mosley tweeted: "Not really feeling tonight's ep but my girl Natasha Lyonne is KILLING it. #lawandorder"

It marks an about-face for the actress from just a few years ago, when reports surfaced that she was homeless and was hospitalized with serious health issues.

At the time, the actress was said to be suffering from hepatitis C, a heart infection and a collapsed lung and also undergoing methadone treatment, which is typically employed to help heroin users.

She also has had a spate of legal troubles, including being arrested for DUI in 2001; she plead guilty to drunk driving and was placed on probation and had her license suspended. She also has took part in a court-ordered drug program.

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Lyonne was arrested again in 2006 for allegedly threatening to sexually abuse a neighbor's dog, but the charges were dismissed and she was sentenced to a conditional discharge.

Meanwhile, fellow actor Michael Rapaport claimed in 2005 that he was forced to evict her from an apartment he was renting to her because she trashed the place and held too many late-night parties.

Lyonne, who appeared in the first two American Pie movies as well as other films including Detroit Rock City and Blade: Trinity, reprises her role as Jessica in American Reunion, which is set for an April 6 release. The movie find the original stars dealing with life in their thirties.

Along with Lyonne, Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Sean William Scott, Shannon Elizabeth, Tara Reid, Eugene Levy, Chris Klein, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Mena Suvari are all set to reprise their roles.

SVU airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on NBC.