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Peter Scanavino previews Carisi’s next challenge on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Carisi SVU
Peter Scanavino as Dominick Carisi on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

Dominick Carisi might be getting back to his roots.

As Law & Order: Special Victims Unit prepares for its midseason return, Peter Scanavino is previewing some upcoming cases where his Assistant District Attorney might be acting more like a cop to help some victims. 

Carisi’s evolution on the show

Since his introduction in Season 16, Carisi has been an integral part of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

He started out as a brash and arrogant Brooklyn cop but soon got the hang of SVU cases. Carisi could be sharp and go out of his way to help others.

A significant development in Season 21 was Carisi finally graduating from law school and becoming the SVU’s main ADA. Unfortunately, this has set him at odds with the team as Carisi has to navigate the politics of cases, and justice isn’t easy to get. 

Season 23 has brought a new development as Carisi and Rollins (Kelli Giddish) are now in a relationship after years of flirting. That does bring a dynamic to cases which included Carisi facing off against former ADA Rafael Barba (Raul Esparaza) to prosecute Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott).

That case ended in a mistrial, and then the charges against Wheatley were dropped. That’s going to stick in Carisi’s craw for a time even as he tries to move on.

What’s next for Carisi on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?

Carisi
Carisi (Peter Scanavino) has a hard case ahead on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

As it happens, Carisi will be absent for the show’s return on January 6. This is interesting as the episode will have Rollins on a case involving former flames Declan Murphy (Donal Logue) and Hasim Khaldun (Ari’el Stachel). 

Speaking to TV Insider, Scanavino said Carisi would be more involved in the January 13th episode, Burning With Rage Forever. 

“We’ve got a great case where there’s a child abduction and Carisi kind of gets involved more in a kind of old-school sense. He’s involved in a lot of the pretrial interrogations so he kind of gets to flex his cop muscles a little bit in that one.”

Scanavino indicates that the case will be an emotional one for Carisi as “he always had a soft spot for children, And I just think that is a very sensitive area for Carisi, an abuser taking advantage of a child. I think that’s something that he can’t stomach at all.”

When asked about whether Carisi misses being a cop, the actor acknowledges that, in many ways, being a detective was much easier for the character. 

“I think part of him does probably miss being a detective. It was just clearer. It was not as political. It was just, this is my job, I think as a lawyer, he’s got to deal with a lot of other people that he might disagree with, but he still has to go forward and do it.

As a police officer or detective, he was just there to investigate, investigate, investigate, find the truth to what’s going on and being a lawyer it’s not quite as black and white as that. It’s much grayer, and sometimes he has to do things that he disapproves of, and that’s just the nature of the job. So I think that part of being a lawyer, he’s not crazy about, but he’s coming to terms with it.”

While the Carisi-Rollins romance is ongoing, the character is still trying to find justice in a courtroom, and his upcoming cases will test his resolve with the SVU team. 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 returns Thursday, January 6 at 9/8c on NBC.