LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT's Peter Scanavino on Filming the Massive Crossover with OC, and the Case That 'Outrages' Carisi - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT’s Peter Scanavino on Filming the Massive Crossover with OC, and the Case That ‘Outrages’ Carisi

December 16, 2021 by  

SVU Peter Scanavino interview

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT — “People VS Richard Wheatley” Episode 23009 — Pictured: Peter Scanavino as Assistant District Attorney Sonny Carisi — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

In the eight months since the LAW & ORDER franchise expanded to include SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT spinoff ORGANIZED CRIME, there have been a number of crossovers…but nothing quite as big as the two-hour “People vs. Richard Wheatley” (SVU) and “The Christmas Episode” (OC) event.

On top of having major ramifications for the franchise, “People vs. Richard Wheatley” also served as the most extensive cast overlap thus far: OC’s Christopher Meloni, Danielle Moné Truitt, Dylan McDermott, and Tamara Taylor appeared on SVU, while former SVU regular Raúl Esparza also reprised his role of Barba.

“It’s funny, it’s like two families getting together,” SVU star Peter Scanavino, who plays ADA Carisi, says. “It’s a really nice feeling; I get along so well with everybody. It was great to meet Dylan. Danielle, we’ve met a few times before, so we get along pretty well. It was just a great time. It is a really fun experience.”

And the significance of the moment wasn’t lost on the performers. “It did feel like, ‘Oh, this is a big crossover. This is a big deal,'” Scanavino admits. “‘This is a lot of different LAW & ORDER worlds colliding.’ I think there’s just inherent excitement from that.”

Scanavino also used the filming opportunity to talk with McDermott about their shared experience playing TV lawyers. (McDermott played Bobby Donnell on the ABC legal drama THE PRACTICE.)

“We definitely talked about it,” Scanavino says with a laugh. “How you keep these things fresh? And how being a lawyer is kind of interesting as an actor—a lawyer is performing a bit for a jury, for a judge. But as the actor, you’re performing for the camera and the crew and there’s all these other people there. So it is this meta experience of being in a courtroom or doing a trial in terms of how similar it is to be an actor and to be an attorney. There’s a lot of crossover there and that was interesting. But it was funny, he was like, ‘Yeah, I did that for seven-plus years.’ He’s a great guy, and it was really fun to talk with him about it.”

The feelings were a little bit less friendly for their on-screen characters. With so much stacked against Carisi, the case against Wheatley ended in a mistrial—thanks to a deadlocked jury—just hours after closing arguments were made.

“He’s frustrated in a way that I think he’s been before,” Scanavino says. “It seems that there were elements that were beyond his control that led to this outcome. For example, when Wheatley’s son changes his testimony, and recants, and that was the strongest evidence that we had, I think there’s an element of what is going on? Who is doing this behind the scenes? I don’t know if the judge is on the up and up. Even when they say we’re deadlocked and they were only out for a day—it was a murder trial. All these things start to build up in Carisi’s mind and it’s just frustrating. It’s so frustrating for him.”

And though the DA ultimately opted against trying Wheatley again, Scanavino notes, “I’d have a hard time believing that’s the end of it,” but acknowledges he doesn’t know if or when justice might play out—or if Carisi will have any role in it.

Unfortunately for Carisi, things won’t be getting easier for him in the immediate future. Though Carisi will be absent from SVU’s Christmas episode (airing January 6), he’ll have his hands full in the following installment.

“He’s got a case that I think really hits him in a place that really outrages him,” Scanavino previews. “It deals with child abduction, and I think that is something that Carisi really can’t stomach at all. So I think there’s a lot of disdain for the alleged abductor.”



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