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Everything to Know About Sonny Carisi on Law & Order: SVU
The detective-turned-ADA has been laying down the law for years, and fans can't get enough.
Since his introduction in Season 16 of Law & Order: SVU, Carisi has stolen hearts, first as an investigator and later as the squad's ADA. Carisi is passionate to the core and always willing to put in the extra work to help Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and the team succeed.
His relationship with former Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) is one of the most compelling arcs of the series, and seeing where their relationship heads next remains an obsession for SVU fans everywhere.
Whether he's slinging arguments in the courtroom or weighing in on the squad's latest case, Carisi has become a beloved SVU mainstay. Read on to look back at Carisi's incredible Law & Order journey.
Who is Sonny Carisi on Law & Order: SVU?
Law & Order: SVU fan favorite Dominick "Sonny" Carisi was first introduced in Season 16, Episode 1 ("Girls Disappeared") after Benson requested an experienced, empathetic detective to replace former squad member Nick Amaro (Danny Pino). Cue the loud-mouthed Carisi entering the fold, instantly making an impression with his thick Staten Island accent, blasé demeanor, and polite first-day gift of Italian doughnuts called zeppole.
Coming from the Staten Island SVU, Carisi hit the ground running within his first investigation, telling Benson, "I'm way experienced, sensitive, and moody too. And I can do that whole empathy thing."
Viewers eventually learned that Carisi is Italian-American with a big family in New York.
Carisi proved to have a talent for getting suspects to open up by pretending to empathize with them, and while that's not exactly what Benson was asking for, it was an incredibly successful tactic in several cases.
In Season 16, Episode 9 ("Pattern Seventeen"), Carisi managed to convince a serial rapist to confess to dozens of assaults after detailing life in prison. Sgt. Fin Tutuola (Ice T). was impressed, and the "new guy" soon became the squad's secret weapon.
Sonny Carisi and Amanda Rollins' Relationship Timeline
After settling into the Manhattan squad room, Carisi was quickly partnered up with Rollins and, over time, "Rollisi" became a dynamic duo and very close friends, much like with Benson and Stabler's iconic SVU partnership.
During Seasons 16 and 17 of SVU, Rollins was acclimating to becoming a single mother, but family man Carisi quickly swooped in to help Rollins any time they could steal away from the precinct.
While working on a case in Season 19, Episode 8 ("Intent"), the longtime partners nearly shared a kiss before ultimately brushing the moment away.
After Rollins became pregnant with her second child in Season 20 of SVU, Carisi couldn't help but become even more protective and helpful. Carisi's selfless support inspired Rollins to name him her second daughter's godfather.
Rollins and Carisi's relationship shifted from platonic to "complicated" in Season 21, after Carisi transferred to the District Attorney's office to fulfill his dream of becoming an ADA. Rollins became keenly aware of how much she missed her partner.
In the Season 22 finale, the two finally romantically collided at the almost-wedding between Phoebe Baker and Sgt. Tutuola. Carisi had prepared a speech for the ceremony and, after Rollins asked to hear it in secret, he detailed how marriage and partnerships are similar, confessing his affection for his former partner and longtime friend. Rollins was touched by the kind words, and the two shared their first kiss of many.
By Season 23 of SVU, Carisi and Rollins were officially dating but were keeping their relationship under wraps to keep their workplace situation uncomplicated. Carisi was less than pleased with the arrangement and, after the new couple worked out their commitment issues, they went public with their romance and shared their relationship status with Benson in Season 23, Episode 13 ("If I Knew Then What I Know Now").
The SVU sweethearts tied the knot in Season 24, Episode 9 ("And a Trauma in a Pear Tree") in a courthouse ceremony surrounded by their squad room loved ones. In the same episode, Rollins resigned from the SVU to explore life as a professor, with Carisi's encouragement.
In the Season 24 finale of SVU, Carisi revealed to Benson that he and Rollins were expecting a baby.
How Detective Sonny Carisi Became Olivia Benson's Go-To ADA
Carisi officially became an ADA in SVU's Season 21 premiere ("I'm Going To Make You a Star"), but make no mistake — his passion for the law half of Law & Order started early. In Season 17, Episode 9 ("Depravity Standard"), fans learned that Carisi attended night law classes at Fordham University in an effort to provide legal suggestions during investigations.
He was especially eager to assist ADA Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza) during a particularly difficult trial, inspiring a career path that would later become Carisi's passion. In Season 17, Episode 19 ("Sheltered Outcasts"), Carisi revealed that he'd always been interested in becoming a lawyer.
At the end of Season 17, Carisi successfully passed his bar exam but chose to stay with the squad after Mike Dodd (Andy Karl) was tragically killed in the line of duty.
After ADA Peter Stone (Philip Winchester) resigned from his legal post, the vacancy made way for a Carisi rebranding. Carisi has since been the legal ace in the hole for dozens of Benson's cases, proving helpful in and out of the courtroom and always willing to join the squad during high-stakes investigations.