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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit brings back a familiar face for its 500th episode

Danny Pino
Danny Pino returns as Nick Amaro for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is welcoming back an old friend for a big anniversary.

For the series’ 500th episode, Danny Pino will reprise his role as Detective Nick Amaro. There are no details on what brings the former cop back to the SVU team, but it’s likely he’s only one of several characters to make a return to mark this amazing episode. 

Who is Nick Amaro?

Introduced in the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 13 premiere, Nick Amaro (along with Kelli Giddish’s Amanda Rollins) was meant to fill the gap left by the sudden departure of Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). 

Formerly in narcotics, Amaro had a learning curve for the SVU team and its help to the victims. His charming nature was put to good use swaying witnesses to talk. However, Amaro’s quick temper often got him into hot water with Internal Affairs and his superiors.

At first, Nick seemed happily married to his wife Maria, with a daughter. However, tension developed in the marriage with Maria moving to take a job in Washington D.C.

Complicating matters was the revelation that Nick had an affair with a woman while working undercover in a drug gang. Years later, he discovered he had a son, which led to his wife divorcing him. 

Amaro was put through the wringer on the series from a difficult relationship with his abusive father to being demoted to a traffic cop after beating down a suspect. It was indicated he and Rollins had a brief relationship as well. 

In the Season 16 finale, Amaro was hoping to be promoted to sergeant, but Benson broke it to him that his complicated history made that unlikely. Amaro was then shot while trying to bring noted criminal Johnny Drake to justice. 

While rehabbing from the injuries, Amaro told Benson he knew he was “damaged goods” in New York and so was moving to California in hopes of reconciling with his family. It was later stated he’d become a member of the United States Park Police. 

Why is Amaro returning?

Since leaving Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Danny Pino has been busy. The actor currently stars on the FX drama Mayans M.C. and guest appearances on shows like The Good Fight. 

While fans were surprised at the announcement of his return, it seems that Pino has wanted to reprise the role for some time. 

The actor told Give Me My Remote in 2019, “Look, Amaro is still alive. I’m not sure where any of that stands, but I’m very happy on my end…But I love Amaro. And I love what he stood for. I love his complications [and] his inconsistencies. I really enjoyed that.”

There is no word on why Amaro is returning although his presence may complicate the budding romance of former partner Rollins and Carisi.

Amaro may be just one of several faces returning for the big 500th episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which airs on October 21. This amazing achievement is likely to be celebrated with other big storylines, and fans are hopeful Amaro is just one of several past characters dropping by to note what an institution the series has become. 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC. 

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