‘Law & Order: SVU’s Peter Scanavino Says Carisi ‘Gets to Flex His Cop Muscles’ on a Case

Peter Scanavino as Assistant District Attorney Sonny Carisi in Law & Order SVU
Heidi Gutman/NBC

After the Law & Order: SVU and Organized Crime crossover trial — Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) ultimately is a free man — that left Sonny Carisi “extremely frustrated,” according to Peter Scanavino, what’s ahead for the assistant district attorney?

Among the episodes coming up when SVU returns in 2022 (on January 6), “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,” Scanavino tells TV Insider. “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.”

The case itself will be a tough one, as ones involving children always are for him. “He always had a soft spot for children,” he continues. “He’s had nieces and he’s been close to them. 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.”

As you’ll recall, when we first met Carisi in Season 16, he joined the squad as a detective but attended then-ADA Rafael Barba’s (Raúl Esparza) trials. In the Season 21 premiere, Carisi made the move to the DA’s office. So will this new case make him miss being a detective?

“I think part of them does probably miss being a detective. It was just clearer. It was not as political. It was just, this is my job,” Scanavino admits. “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,” he continues. “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.”

Law & Order: SVU, Midseason Return, Thursday, January 6, 9/8c, NBC