‘Law & Order: SVU’: Can Joe Velasco Be Trusted?

by Jennifer Shea

On “Law & Order: SVU,” a new detective has joined the team.

So Joe Velasco actor Octavio Pisano has now become a series regular. But can his character be trusted?

Velasco first showed up toward the beginning of this season as a top-secret undercover officer working to bring down Congressman Howard. Then he worked with Rollins to find one of the politician’s missing victims. But Rollins (Kelli Giddish) later got him to confess that he’d told an exaggerated story in order to gain the victim’s confidence and get her to help them.

Is Velasco McGrath’s Mole?

After Chief McGrath (Terry Serpico) assigned Velasco to a serious position at SVU, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and her team grew suspicious. Could he be there as a mole for McGrath? Would Velasco be spying on them from here on out? Would he be sharing everything he witnessed with McGrath?

For their part, “Law & Order: SVU” fans are divided on Velasco. Some say the “overly aggressive and stereotypical” cop trope is played out. But others say he’s got good intentions and could last more than one season.

Whether Velasco can earn the trust of his new colleagues remains to be seen. But as for whether the character stays or goes? One thing’s tilting in Pisano’s favor: fans are getting sick of the “revolving door” effect. They’ve grown attached to characters only to see them leave after a season or two. Now they want the show’s writers to pick a stable of characters and stick with them.

Here Are Some Steps ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Takes to Maintain Safety on Set

Meanwhile, fans may be wondering if the NBC show could suffer an on-set mishap like the one that claimed Halyna Hutchins’s life. Set safety is a big topic in Hollywood these days, given recent events on the set of the Alec Baldwin film “Rust.” And “Law & Order: SVU” is not without its share of special effects and stunts.

In an interview with Business Insider last month, “Law & Order: SVU” prop master Michael Saccio detailed the steps he takes to keep everyone safe on set. The New York native was apprenticed to his father, Thomas Saccio, a veteran prop master, before he set out on his own.

“I’ve been the prop master for ‘Law & Order: SVU’ on NBC for the past 18 seasons,” Saccio said. “So dealing with weapons on set is a frequent occurrence for me.”

“When weapons are going to be fired on set, that responsibility falls to the prop master,” he added. “And in more recent times, often a weapons specialist known as an armorer, whom we bring in as an additional precautionary measure.”

The first rule of weapons safety? Guns are never to be aimed at people on set, Saccio said. Moreover, NBC has a specific protocol that the crew must follow when guns are involved in a scene. All of which makes it less likely that tragedy will strike.