Wednesday's episode of Law & Order: SVU was going to be Avon six-year-old Leah Violante's television debut.
But to her parents' surprise, her scenes did not make it beyond the cutting room floor.
Her father, Dominick Violante called the show to find out what happened to the school scenes they shot of Leah as an extra in New York in December.
"The answer was that they went in a different direction and changed the premise of the story," Dominick wrote in an email to Patch.
Leah was cast as an extra in flashback scenes. One was set in a classroom with students listening to a teacher read and another took place during a class photo shoot.
"They were going to have the main character flashback to his days at school as a bully, but decided not to concentrate on a bully issue and keep to the main component of 'hate crimes,'" Dominick said.
The episode, Criminal Hatred was about an investigation into a series of assaults against closeted gay men and included many courtroom scenes featuring My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos as the quirky defense attorney.
Dominick Violante said that a show representative told him that a one-hour show like Law & Order: SVU is actually about 46 minutes because of commercials. The production crew filmed an hour and 40 minutes of the episode and it is common that more than half of the footage is cut, Violante said he was told.
The Violantes were not notified that the scenes were being cut. Violante said that many of their friends and family were disappointed that they watched the episode that night and didn't get to see Leah.
"She apologized for not being able to inform us of that and explained that is also common practice because Leah was only an extra and that there are no guarantees she would make the cut," Violante said of his conversation with the representative of the production team. "I guess it was a lesson to how show biz in the film industry works."
However, the Violantes are trying to keep Leah in a positive mindset despite what happened to her scenes. Leah has been "upbeat" about the situation, Dominick said.
"She has other opportunities on the horizon, and we're sure something good will happen for her," Violante said.