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Benson & Carisi's First SVU Scene Together Shows How Far They've Come

So much has changed since Season 16!

By Elizabeth Logan

It's hard to believe it now, but when Benson met Carisi, their relationship was barely cordial. So much has changed since then, including both of their jobs. In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 16, Episode 1 ("Girls Disappeared"), now-lawyer Sonny Carisi (Peter Scanavino) is a detective, and Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is a sergeant.

Mariska Hargitay and Peter Scanavino's first scene together

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on NBC and Peacock.

Though he'd appeared in a Season 14 episode as a different character, Scanavino's first episode as Carisi came during one of the most dramatic arcs in SVU history. As the episode opens, Benson is putting baby Noah to bed in his crib, and promising that she will find the man who ordered his mom Ellie Porter's murder. Then, Detective Amaro (Danny Pino), temporarily demoted to beat cop after an aggression incident, picks up a witness who could help solve the Porter murder. As Detective Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Benson arrive at the precinct...we meet Carisi! And his very prominent mustache.

His first line: “They shot at cops right outside the station, so they want us to know they’re crazy.”

Benson Tells Carisi That Her Son Googled Her | Law & Order: SVU | NBC

Benson observes, "you must be my new detective," as Amaro is out of commission, while Rollins just gives him a "what's your deal?" look, which is especially ironic seeing as their characters are now together.

Carisi introduces himself and says be brought zeppola, a traditional Italian dessert, which he eats throughout the episode.

RELATED: Who Is the Father of Amanda Rollins' Second Baby on Law & Order: SVU?

How Carisi's character started out

We quickly find out that Carisi has been moving from SVU to SVU around New York City, and his blunt manner with witnesses rubs Benson the wrong way. “I can certainly see why you’re so popular!” she quips after Carisi fails to show the proper tact.

Benson specifically asked for an "experienced, empathetic" detective to replace Amaro, and Carisi is neither. But he is smart, pointing out that their witnesses (victims of sex trafficking) aren't going to trust empathy from a man anyway. Later, she poses as a john who wants it rough so the squad can arrest the trafficking ring's enforcer.

RELATED: Mariska Hargitay Says Fans Need to Remember Something Important About Bensler’s Relationship

Carisi also shows his noble side right away. He's taking law classes at Fordham at night, and knows about an immigration visa that would help a young victim start over. However, he also promises the victim that he will get her one of the visas, which Benson isn't sure they'll be able to get for sure.

Watch this scene from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 16, Episode 1 on Peacock now.