Octavio Pisano Promoted to Series Regular on NBC’s ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Octavio Pisano as Joe Velasco in Law & Order: SVU
NBC/Law & Order: SVU Screenshot

Octavio Pisano’s Detective Joe Velasco is getting a promotion, as the character will now be a regular addition to Law & Order: SVU.

Pisano joined the NBC procedural drama in the premiere of Season 23 and has so far appeared in three episodes. His character, Velasco, is a former undercover detective under Chief McGrath (Terry Serpico) who has been assigned to SVU, replacing Officer Katriona Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder). Hyder recently exited the series alongside Demore Barnes, who portrayed Deputy Chief Christian Garland.

As explained in the Season 23 premiere, Velasco grew up with an extremely abusive father who would often beat him with a belt. Following his father’s death, Velasco took the belt while the rest of his family were only interested in taking the money. Velasco wanted the belt as a reminder of where he came from and how he has overcome struggle.

Season 23 premiered on September 23, following immediately on from last season’s finale, where Catalina Machado (Zabryna Guevara) was arrested for trafficking homeless women in a shady housing-for-sex scheme. The premiere also marked the last episode for the previously mentioned Hyder and Barnes.

Law & Order: SVU stars Mariska Hargita as Captain Olivia Benson, Kelli Giddish as Detective 2nd Grade Amanda Rollins, Ice-T as Sergeant Odafin “Fin” Tutuola, and Peter Scanavino as ADA Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr. The series revolves around the Special Victims Unit of the NYPD, an elite squad who investigate and prosecute various sexually oriented crimes.

The show is TV’s longest-running primetime live-action series and this season will feature the milestone 500th episode (Episode 6). To mark the occasion, the episode will see the return of Danny Pino as Detective Nick Amaro; Pino starred in the drama from Season 13 to Season 16.

Pisano previously starred as Sultan alongside Michael Chiklis in the CBS All Access limited series Coyote and as Julius Escada Jr. in the Tyler Perry soap opera If Loving You Is Wrong on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Law & Order: SVU, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC