‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Meets Love of His Life On Set

by Suzanne Halliburton

Terry Serpico, who plays Chief Tommy McGrath, didn’t realize he’d meet his future wife on set of Law & Order: SVU this time a year ago, when the series worked on the season 23 premiere.

The sparks started when he accidentally stepped on the foot of Kadia Saraf. She was playing U.S. attorney Anya Avital. The two had one scene together as their characters prepped for a fake press conference.

Then the 58-year-old Serpico got in touch with his middle school self and came up with an idea on how to better know Saraf. He wrote her an old-school note.

“I’m shy, and I really don’t have any kind of game,” Serpico told the New York Times. The two did talk some between takes. Saraf is an interesting person. The woman who plays a top-notch attorney on TV practices kabbalistic astrology. She also put off her acting career to raise her kids. So she and Serpico had some fascinating conversations. “She was focused and well-spoken and attractive and exceptionally smart. I was drawn to her.”

So he had a production assistant on Law & Order: SVU deliver the note. Serpico also talked to her manager about getting in touch with Saraf.

And as Law & Order: SVU preps for the season 24 premiere, Serpico now is a married man, although it took a while for Saraf to realize there was a true connection.

If you think about it, the set of Law & Order: SVU probably isn’t the most romantic spot in NYC. You definitely have to compartmentalize. The plots all involve very sad, mind-numbing crimes, usually involving sexual assault. Some of these crimes actually were based on real events.

Serpico is a well-known actor. And he’s got a type of character he plays. Most of the time, he’s either in the military or a cop. But he also had a memorable role on Yellowstone, playing a businessman (Teal Beck) who got crossways with John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and his family. Kayce Dutton took care of Beck while he was in the bathroom.

When Serpico started his stint on Yellowstone, the show’s social media team needed to clarify that Serpico and Anthony Michael Hall weren’t the same person.

Serpico was a recurring character last season on Law & Order: SVU. In the series, he plays the chief of detectives who sometimes likes to go for the easiest, quickest arrests and convictions. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) often butted heads with Chief McGrath and threatened to quit at least once. Serpico appeared in nine episodes as McGrath last season. But he’s got a history with the Law & Order franchise, portraying five other characters in guest starring roles dating back to 2000.

But the summer of 2021 probably is his most memorable on Law & Order: SVU because that’s when he met Saraf. She says they had a connection, but there weren’t immediate sparks. Plus, she said “I wasn’t there to make friends.” Saraf’s character also was recurring. She appeared four times in season 23. And she guest starred in FBI: International, another series in the Dick Wolf universe.

Serpico, when he started SVU, was divorced with two adult children. He told the Times he’d reached a specific phase in his life. “Basically, I was wanting to move to a cabin in the woods with my dogs. Kadia changed all that for me.”

The couple was married in an intimate outdoor ceremony on June 8. Hargitay and her husband, Peter Hermann, also were there to celebrate. Coincidentally, those two met because of Law & Order: SVU. So it must be a romantic set.

The season 24 premiere is Sept. 22. Will SVU romance bloom again?