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Octavio Pisano previews Velasco’s place in the coming Law & Order crossover

Octavio Pisano
Octavio Pisano as Joe Velasco on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Octavio Pisano is looking forward to a big Law & Order crossover.

The actor spoke about how his Detective Joe Velasco will be part of the coming Law & Order: Special Victims Unit/Law & Order: Organized Crime crossover and how his character interacts with some of the other cops on a challenging case. 

Velasco as the newbie on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Introduced in the Season 23 premiere, Joe Velasco was assigned to the SVU team by Captain McGrath which had them initially suspicious he was sent to spy on them. 

Velasco has won the team’s respect, working hard to try and help victims in any way. Velasco shared he ran with some rough gangs in Mexico and worked hard to escape that life. 

He went out of his way to rescue some teens missing from his hometown and is currently doing well aiding the SVU team.

In the coming episodes, a young girl goes missing and the SVU team learns she was abducted by the Brotherhood, the pack of corrupt cops that Stabler (Christopher Meloni) is undercover with.

Speaking to Give Me My Remote, Pisano points out the key challenge of the crossover was the differences between the two series. 

“It’s actually quite challenging, because every show has its own pace and its own rhythm. The OC has a little bit of a faster pace, and I had to catch up. But it was very rewarding; I enjoyed it very much.”

Pisano indicates that Velasco will bond over some similar backgrounds.

“They share a similar background in terms of the crimes [they’ve investigated] and that organized crime world. His technical abilities will allow him to work very well together with Jet, who is played by Ainsley Seiger. And [Velasco] had to deal with kidnapped girls—[especially with] his backstory growing up in Mexico—so it makes him good for the job.”

The storyline will have Velasco and Jet working together and some initial clashing before gelling nicely. 

“I think at first they might be skeptical of how each other works,” Pisano admits. “And I think Velasco has a lot of questions. Being that it was Jet’s home[base], she just asks him to catch up. He has to catch up. Velasco, he obviously grew up in Mexico, and I think he’s very literal. And so there’s a lot of dry humor, sarcasm that he doesn’t get. But that dynamic is very interesting.”

That won’t be the only interesting dynamic that Velasco, and his actor, handle on the crossover. 

Velasco on the Benson/Stabler dynamic

Photo of Benson and Valasco on SVU
Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Velasco (Octavio Pisano) discuss a case on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

A major part of the crossover is watching former partners Benson and Stabler joining together again. Pisano points out that Velasco unaware of the long partnership between Benson and Stabler is like how he has little experience with Meloni. 

“I think it parallels my personal life as an actor: I’ve worked with both of them, Chris Meloni and Mariska, individually, but I’ve never been in the same room with both of them. Everything I know of them is from the outside perspective, as well as Velasco’s perspective on Benson and Stabler. It’s all what they say. But obviously, he’s not that close with Benson, yet, to the point where he can ask those questions.”

Pisano also shared how it felt to learn Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner Warren Leight will be stepping down from the series. Apparently, the news took many of the cast by surprise. 

“I actually found out today, even though he tweeted last night—I’m still processing. I saw him yesterday, he was at the last day of [filming]. I wish I would have known; I would have given him a big hug. I’m just so grateful, because he’s really an actor’s writer. He has a love for the craft. He really respects actors and he understands everyone’s method is different. And he worked with me on backstory and motivation. He set up meetings with real detectives. He was always there, ready to collaborate. And I just hope whoever comes next is as involved and immersed as he was. He really cared. He had something in his heart for the show; he’s really invested in it. I’ve worked with a lot of showrunners, but he was unique to me. So I’m sad to see him go and I wish him the best.”

While obviously missing his former boss, Pisano is happy to be taking part in this big crossover and interested in how Velasco interacts with the Law & Order teams meeting in an epic case.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.

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