‘Law & Order: SVU’: Danny Pino Says Very Little Has Changed Since He Left the Show

by Anna Dunn
(Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images)

Former Law & Order: SVU star Danny Pino has returned to the show for the special 500th episode, but the Amaro actor doesn’t feel like much has changed. The actor left the show six years ago and played one of Olivia Benson’s partners after Elliot Stabler retired.

The 500th episode will see major characters returning with Pino’s Amaro being one of the most highly anticipated. In the episode, Amaro will help someone from Olivia Benson’s past re-unite with her so he can ask for her help on a case.

“It’s amazing how much felt the same,” the actor said in an interview with TV Line. “It’s saying a lot to walk onto a set that has been working at such a high level for so long and to feel that same enthusiasm and commitment to the storytelling. That all really flows from Mariska, who is so incredibly connected and energized and committed to telling these stories still.”

Mariska Hargitay truly has been the absolute star and driving force of the show since its premiere in 1999. Now, the actress provides major moments on screen while simultaneously forging an energetic environment behind the scenes.

Mariska Hargitay Says the 500th Episode of ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Mariska Hargitay has faced a lot of pressure-filled moments on Law & Order: SVU, but the actress couldn’t even watch the 500th episode when it became available to her. Something about such a major milestone made it very high-stakes for the seasoned actress.

“They sent me the link so many times and I was actually too nervous to watch it,” she said in an interview with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest. “I’ve been doing this show for so long and Olivia Benson is in me but I think that the idea of the 500th episode was so much pressure or something.”

She also told the two that it affected her when coming in to work, and she was genuinely nervous coming into work for the first time in a long while. It also provided her with some time to reflect on the past two decades and look at what the show has accomplished.

But that pressure does come with some perks. The cast just had an incredibly fun-looking celebration party. The cast brought out a major NYC-themed cake that looked delicious. On top of the party, Hargitay has received praise from her friends.

Bridget Moynahan of Blue Bloods tweeted out congratulations to Hargitay for all her hard work on the show. Hargitay’s been a powerhouse on the show, and hopefully, she’ll finally be able to kick back and enjoy that 500th episode. The special episode of Law & Order: SVU comes out tomorrow night at 9/8 central.