‘Law & Order: SVU’: Carisi Actor Peter Scanavino Opens Up on His First Episode’s Impact

by Megan Molseed

When Peter Scanavino’s Sonny Carisi first arrived at the SVU, the detectives were facing an intense case involving the assault of a transgender teen. And, says, the Law & Order: SVU actor, his character worked hard to understand what the victim was going through. Despite not understanding the entire story.

“I think it could of gone—the wrong way,” Peter Scanavino says of the 2015 episode Transgender Bridge.

“Which is if Carisi was like, “What is this? What is this?”” the Law & Order: SVU star continues in a recent interview. “But I think it was coming from a real sense of wanting to understand it because he wasn’t exposed to it.”

In the season seventeen episode of the popular NBC detective drama, the SVU detectives are called in to investigate an assault after a teen is pushed off a bridge.

As the investigation progresses, however, the Law & Order detectives soon learn there is a lot more to the story. And the entire investigation takes a turn when videos of the assault appear online.

Eventually, it is revealed that the teen was bullied for being transgendered while walking home from school. During the attack, the teen is accidentally pushed off the bridge.

“I think he grew up in Staten Island,” Peter Scanavino says of his Law & Order: SVU character, Dominic “Sonny” Carisi.

“And if there were kids who felt that way, they weren’t in any way comfortable to do it,” the actor continues.

“So this kid is from a different place,” Scanavino adds. “He sees him as a good kid so I was glad that I could kind of be that heavy man watching the show.”

‘Law & Order: SVU’ Addresses Some Storylines Viewers May Want To Learn More About

Peter Scanavino adds that episodes such as this aren’t necessarily intended to change a viewer’s beliefs. Or even sway them in one way or another.

Instead, the actor notes, these shows are filmed as information stories – primarily for those who want to understand.

“I’m not talking about the person who’s saying “A man’s a man, a woman’s a woman,”” the SVU actor notes.

“Because those people, you’re not going to reach out,” he continues.

“I’m talking about those people like “Man, I really don’t understand. I don’t have any experience with this,”” Scanavino adds. “That’s the person I want to speak for and I want to speak to.”

According to Scanavino, the fact that Law & Order: SVU addresses topics such as this is part of what makes the show as timeless as it is.

“I think it’s one of those things that you speak about in twenty years so it’s just gonna be look—happiness is the greatest thing for an individual,” the actor explains.