Is Carisi leaving SVU? Law & Order’s Peter Scanavino gets a career change

peter scanavino as sonny carisi on law and order svu
Actor Peter Scanavino on the set of Law & Order SVU. Pic credit: @ImageCollect.com/Zelig Shaul/ACE Pictures 

The premiere episode for Season 21 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit took viewers for a new turn involving one of the show’s main characters. Detective Sonny Carisi, who has been part of the SVU squad, along with Rollins, Tutuola, and Benson, was at the center of that turn. Although he’s listed among the show’s opening credits, Peter Scanavino got a career change of sorts. So, is Carisi leaving SVU?

Law & Order: SVU’s Carisi makes a change

Spoilers follow here for those who missed Season 21, Episode 1 of Law & Order: SVU. The premiere of the new season was called “I’m Going To Make You a Star” and opened with Detective Sonny Carisi packing up his things from his desk at the headquarters. Rollins speaks to him about leaving SVU behind, as Carisi alludes to a new job.

Rollins convinces him to go get a drink with her and as they enter the bar, he’s showered with “Surprise” as members of the squad and others are there for a goodbye party. However, it’s also a congratulations party. Carisi isn’t leaving the SVU team behind completely, he just won’t be a detective there.

Instead, he’s now joining the DA’s office. Carisi is the new ADA who works under a brand new boss as well. DA Vanessa Hadid is the new Special Victims bureau chief.

Peter Scanavino spoke about Carisi’s new gig

In an interview with TV Insider, Scanavino talked about the new dynamics involving his ADA Carisi and the rest of the SVU team. In an early part of the premiere episode, Benson mentions to Captain Dodds, “At least they put Carisi on the case, he’s one of us.” However, he reminds her “Was.” That plays into things as the latest case starts to go forth.

Early on, Carisi is facing pressure from the rest of his former SVU colleagues. He tells them he can’t just make a call for what they want without going to his boss first. That results in frustration from the detectives as they’re trying to catch a potential perpetrator.

Scanavino mentioned in the TV Insider interview:

“It’s interesting because Carisi always looked up to Benson as a mentor and she was a guide for him. What she does is where I follow. But now there’s a bit of conflict sometimes, where she may want Carisi to do one thing, but he just says plainly, ‘I can’t do it.'”

He also brought up the fact that it’s a bit of a nervous transition as his character spent time as a detective for so long. Scanavino says it could make for some interesting episodes should former DAs return to help him along. That could include Peter Stone or Barba, who were the previous DAs ahead of Vanessa Hadid.

So while, in a sense, he’s leaving his detective role at SVU, Peter Scanavino isn’t leaving the show. Sonny Carisi will still be around to work with his former team, as much as they might butt heads.

Viewers can watch new episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Thursdays on NBC at 10/9c.

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