LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT's Peter Scanavino Previews Carisi's Battle Against ORGANIZED CRIME's Wheatley—and Barba - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT’s Peter Scanavino Previews Carisi’s Battle Against ORGANIZED CRIME’s Wheatley—and Barba

December 8, 2021 by  

Law and Order SVU Organized Crime crossover spoilers Wheatley trial

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT — “People VS Richard Wheatley” Episode 23009 — Pictured: (l-r) Peter Scanavino as Assistant District Attorney Sonny Carisi, Raúl Esparza as Counselor Rafael Barba, Dylan McDermott as Richard Wheatley — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT’s ADA Carisi (Peter Scanavino) has faced a lot of tough cases over the past few seasons, but he runs into one of his biggest challenges in the L&O crossover event, as he is tasked with trying to convict ORGANIZED CRIME’s Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott)—who manged to evade all of the other criminal charges against him, in exchange for cooperating with authorities—for Kathy Stabler’s murder.

“What are you gonna do?” Scanavino laments. “I think Carisi, in this case, realizes it’s a bit of an uphill [battle]. He knows what has happened, what has occurred. But in terms of the evidence that he has, I think he knows it’s kind of sparse, so he’s got to really try to steer the case towards the prosecution as best as he can.”

Complicating matters is the fact that Wheatley has hired former SVU ADA Barba (Raúl Esparza) to represent him. And, for better or worse, Carisi knows exactly where his friend is at his strongest in the courtroom.

“[Carisi] knows that to call people and put them on the stand to paint Stabler in a sympathetic light, he’s still opening them up to cross examination, and that’s where Barba really excels,” Scanavino says. “So it’s kind of a tightrope walk for him in terms of exposing himself to attacks and cross examinations from Barba, who he knows is more than capable.”

As if Carisi didn’t have enough stacked against him, there’s also a familiar face on the bench: Joe Ellery (Rocco Sisto), a corrupt judge who previously was embattled with the squad.

“The judge I think is kind of emblematic of a lot of the things that Carisi has experienced in the legal world so far,” Scanavino says. “There’s all these invisible maneuvers that have influence on the trial that he’s not in control of. And maybe [he] didn’t even realize were part of this system before he got to the position that he’s at now. I know that [Ellery’s] a corrupt judge—he was in another episode where I had him dead to rights. Now, he’s presiding over this trial.”

“Wheatley’s [also] doing things behind the scenes—we have a witness that changes their testimony,” he continues. “It’s very complex for [Carisi], in the way that he has to handle this and manage it. It’s almost like he’s a conductor in an orchestra: he’s got to worry about tons of things at once. And it is all gonna fit together perfectly, [but] if one thing gets off, the whole thing falls apart.”

In addition to this having high stakes for his career, Carisi is also very aware of the case’s importance to the people in his life.

“A lot of it revolves around Benson, for me, because she’s been so formative in who I’ve become as not only a detective before that, but now as a prosecutor,” Scanavino notes, in character. “I think I’ve learned so much from her and I’m very protective of her. Just as you would [feel toward] a great friend. So I kind of take some cues from her where, you know, if you’re good with the way this is going, then I got you. And I’m not going to ask any questions, really, about you and Stabler—that’s not my business. But I’m going to trust you if you say it’s okay. But it’s definitely personal for [Carisi], because Stabler is very important to Liv. And if he’s important to her, then he’s important to me.”

Looking ahead, with the original LAW & ORDER returning—and Scanavino previously appearing on the mothership, TRIAL BY JURY, CRIMINAL INTENT, ORGANIZED CRIME, in addition to his full-time SVU gig—is there hope Carisi might cross over to the mothership?

“I have not had conversations about it. They don’t tell us too much stuff,” Scanavino says with a laugh. “But yeah, I think that would be awesome. I would love to go play with them for a few episodes or whatever. And just meet [former LAW & ORDER star] Sam Waterston! They can make me a waiter on that show, and I’ll bring him a coffee, that’s what I would do [to work with him]. I don’t even know if he’s involved in it, this is how little I know.”

“But I’m really excited about the LAW & ORDER original reboot,” he continues. “And I’m really excited we’re all gonna be on the same night. I was telling my wife the other day, ‘I’d watch that night of TV.'”




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