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Octavio Pisano’s Best Memories with Mariska Hargitay and Ice T on the Set of SVU

The actor who plays Law & Order: SVU's Det. Joe Velasco detective says he has some of the coolest coworkers.

By Jessica White

Since his Season 23 introduction on Law & Order: Special Victims UnitOctavio Pisano has delivered nothing but powerhouse performances as Detective Joe Velasco. 

How to Watch

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

Through dozens of successful arrests and spot-on hunches, Velasco has proven he can keep up with Law & Order legends like Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Sgt. Fin Tutuola (Ice T). It's not easy taking down NYC's most heinous criminals, but Velasco has time and time again risen to the challenge and seen justice served.

And, when Velasco isn't assisting newcomers like Tonie Churlish (Jasmine Batchelor) and Grace Muncy (Molly Burnett) to the squad, he's combining brains with Fin as an undefeated duo. If Velasco is on the case, the squad gets their perp. (Of course, it doesn't hurt that Velasco has Benson and Fin in his corner to help.)

NBC Insider spoke to Pisano about working so closely with primetime titans like Hargitay and Ice T, and Pisano had nothing but praise for his SVU colleagues. Pisano has "so many" exciting memories with the SVU O.G.s, and relished the opportunity to reflect on some of the most memorable moments with them. 

Octavio Pisano's Best Moments with Ice T 

Ice T, Mariska Hargitay and Octavio Pisano on the set of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

"I remember shooting an episode last season with Ice, and we were up north somewhere, and it was like two in the morning, and it was freezing cold," Pisano explained. "And, you know, I had a moment of like, 'Oh, my God, like, this is too hard,' and [Ice T] looked at me. He's like, 'Remember, this is the dream. You're living the dream.'"

"Just having said it, it put everything in perspective, you know?" Pisano said. "Because Ice and I have a very similar upbringing. And that was one of the best moments... I've learned so much from Ice-T. Just how he handles himself in all these situations. And he keeps it so grounded."

Octavio Pisano's Best Moments With Mariska Hargitay 

Benson Tells Velasco He Did the Right Thing | NBC's Law & Order: SVU

As for Hargitay, Pisano struggled to narrow down his most memorable experience with the SVU icon, but one of the most precious moments was when he found himself directed by his beloved costar. Hargitay is the proud director of eight SVU episodes, the most recent being Season 24's "King of the Moon," featuring guest stars Betty Buckley and Bradley Whitford. The episode was an emotionally intense rollercoaster for Velasco, who received one of his most tough assignments yet: Earning Benson's trust back.

Pisano told us that Hargitay is always a dream to work with, but working with the SVU leading lady as a director in that episode was eye-opening.

"Just having someone like Mariska, who is where she's at, but also a friend to me, and also a mentor and also a scene partner, then having her direct me was the most amazing thing," Pisano gushed. "Because she sees things that most directors don't, because they're not in the scene with me, and she knows me in that way."

"You know, I remember she came in the room, and she's like, 'You're free. Literally, just do whatever you want.' And that allowed me to go to places that I normally don't allow myself to go to," he added. "Because she knows me personally, she's able to take me there."