04/08/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : AN UNDERAGE SEX PARTY LEADS TO A MEASLES EPIDEMIC IN NEW YORK CITY
Pornographic photos from 15 year-old Savannah Biel’s (guest star Hayden Tweedie) house party quickly circulate around her Tribeca high school and go viral. Barba’s (Raúl Esparza) efforts to arrest the student responsible for posting the images is stalled when several suspects fall victim to a fast-moving measles outbreak. When Benson’s (Mariska Hargitay) foster son also catches the illness, she investigates a group of mothers who may have falsified their children’s medical records. Meanwhile, Amaro (Danny Pino) receives some distressing news about his son. Also starring Ice T (Det. Odafin Tutuola), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi). Also guest starring Missi Pyle (Trudy Malko), Emily Dorsch (Principal Schwartz), Hari Dhillon (Counselor Varma), Susie Essman (Arlene Heller), Jefferson Mays (ME Rudnick), Julie Lauren (Mia Biel), Christine Toy Johnson (Dr. Celia Lee), David Margulies (Dr. Eric Setrakian) and Jaden Matthew Rodriguez (Gil Mancheno).
04/01/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : A COLLEGE STUDENT’S RAPE CASE PUTS NATIONAL ATTENTION ON THE SVU
Popular television host Skip Peterson (guest star Rob Morrow) airs an interview with college student Heather Manning (guest star Ally Ioannides), who claims she was gang raped in a fraternity house. While the tragic account of Heather’s story brings national attention to the epidemic of rape on campus, the sensational details of the she-said, they-said case leaves Sgt. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and ADA Barba (Raul Esparza) with several suspects and a rocky trial. Also starring Ice T (Det. Odafin Tutuola), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi). Also guest starring Laura Fraser (Jessica Dillon), Kathleen Chalfant (President Roberts), Delaney Williams (Counselor John Buchanan) and Jenna Wolfe (as herself).
03/25/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : A PAROLE OFFICER IS ACCUSED OF MANIPULATING CLIENTS FOR PERSONAL GAIN
Detective Carisi’s (Peter Scanavino) sister Bella (guest star Marin Ireland) prepares for her wedding to fiancé Tommy Sullivan (guest star Michael Chernus) and the upcoming birth of their child. But when Tommy falls back into bad habits and accuses his parole officer (guest star Molly Price) of rape, Carisi must investigate whether the claim is real or just another one of Tommy’s excuses. Also starring Mariska Hargitay (Sgt. Olivia Benson), Danny Pino (Det. Nick Amaro), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Raul Esparza (ADA Rafael Barba). Also guest starring Joseph Lyle Taylor (Counselor Mickey D’Angelo) and Biniam Tekola (Jordan Dolphy).
Ashley: Anything on SVU?
We know there’s a lot of you who are very invested in the Rollaro—that’s Amaro and Rollins’ relationship. So what’s up with it? “I don’t know, I don’t know where that is. I don’t know where they’re taking it,” Giddish admits. The actress tell us she’s not sure about the relationship and how healthy it is for her character, but said she loves having Pino as a scene partner. “So rarely we get to act with other people in the squad room, just like a two-hander scene, it’s just nice knowing that there is something, maybe another layer, that is going on in the squad room,” she says. “So we’ll see where they take it.”
02/25/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : A LITERARY ICON’S LIFE BECOMES A TABLOID HEADLINE
Celebrity author Walter Briggs (guest star Robert Vaughn) is the focus of a feud between his sixth wife, Charmaine (guest star Marcia Cross), and his daughters from previous marriages (guest stars Emily Bergl and Susan Pourfar). The fight over control for both his well-being and his estate becomes a criminal case when Charmaine is accused of abusing her husband. Meanwhile, Barba (Raul Esparza) struggles with his own family drama when he goes against his grandmother’s wishes. Also starring Mariska Hargitay (Sgt. Olivia Benson), Danny Pino (Det. Nick Amaro), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins), Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi). Also guest starring Susie Essman (Counselor Arlene Heller), Jennifer Van Dyck (Dr. Brenda Tedroe), Mercedes Ruehl (Lucia Barba) and Judith Delgado (Katerine).
It was just announced that Five NBC shows were newed for the 2015-2016 Season. Grimm, The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Law & Order: SVU. That means that SVU will be going into it’s Season 17th season.
02/18/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : A MOTHER RISKS EVERYTHING TO RESCUE HER DAUGHTER FROM AN UNDERGROUND SEX RING
Working undercover to bust a sex trafficking ring, Det. Carisi (Peter Scanavino) stumbles upon Martha Thornhill (guest star Lili Taylor), a mother who has embedded herself as a Madame in the organization for three years in hopes of finding and saving her daughter, Ariel. Martha joins forces with the SVU and they work together to bust the pimp and his cohorts, but Ariel is still missing. Meanwhile, Sgt. Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is confronted with a harsh revelation that will change her life forever. Also starring Ice-T (Det. Odafin Tutuola), Danny Pino (Det. Nick Amaro), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Raúl Esparza (ADA Rafael Barba). Guest starring Danielle Burgess (Nina Soren), Amanda Warren (Tracy), Justin McCarthy (Tommy Strickland) and Tamara Tunie (M.E. Melinda Warner).
02/11/2015 (09:00PM – 10:00PM) (Wednesday) : THE VIRTUAL WORLD BECOMES REALITY WHEN A VIDEO GAME CONVENTION TURNS INTO A CRIME SCENE
Video game developer Raina Punjabi (guest star Mouzam Makkar) solidifies the launch of her first game amid a stream of online insults, intimidation and death threats from the male-dominated gaming community. When a female employee is assaulted at a gamer convention, Detective Tutuola (Ice-T) investigates the crime but Raina refuses to delay the launch, and the cops must “level up” to protect her. Also starring Mariska Hargitay (Sgt. Olivia Benson), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Dominick Carisi Jr.). Guest starring Peter Mark Kendall (Steven Kaplan), Susannah Flood (Sarah Keller) and Griffin Matthews (Leslie Connolly).
This week’s Law & Order: SVU is one of those especially brutal ones that directly affects one of the main characters. On the heels of the recent episode in which Detective Rollins (in a devastating performance by Kelli Giddish) revealed that she was once raped comes an intense look into Detective Nick Amaro’s (Danny Pino) past.
In the Mariska Hargitay–directed “Padre Sandunguero,” Nick’s father, Nicolas Sr. (played by veteran actor Armand Assante), shows up at the precinct. He’s there to invite Nick to his May-December wedding. Amaro is visibly traumatized. He hasn’t really spoken to the man at length since he was 15. And with good reason.
In an interview with the EW Community, Danny Pino explained what Nick is feeling:
“I think that seeing his father is a very complicated thing for him,” Pino explained. “I think Nicolas Armaro Sr. is Nick’s biggest trigger. We’ve been seeing certain things about Nick for the last three and a half years. Seeing him act erratically and violently at times. And not quite known why that is. I think in this episode, that trigger comes walking in the door. It’s fear of what this means for his stability and his recovery. He’s in anger management; he wants to keep his job. It shakes his foundation.”
Nick Sr.’s wedding turns violent, and Nick is forced to look back at his traumatic past with his father—and maybe even testify against him. This also pits him against against his family, who insist on seeing his father as the loving, benevolent man he appears to be (but actually isn’t).
“I think we all carry some of that with us,” Pino said. “And to see a character having to face it alone, having his family essentially turn on him and buy what Nick considers to be a con, it’s an incredibly painful thing to go through.”
Behind the scenes, Pino said he was “incredibly grateful and happy and excited and nervous every day” about working with Assante, a Hollywood mainstay.
“He’s incredibly dynamic [and] prepared. When you work with an actor who is so prepared, there’s a tendency to be, I think, married to one way of doing a scene or expressing something. That is so not the case with Armand. His preparation allows him to be free and present and imaginative, which causes the other actors in the scene to be ready for anything.”
And what about taking direction from iconic SVU veteran (and someone Pino considers “a very close, very dear friend”), Mariska Hargitay?
This was Hargitay’s second time in the SVU director’s chair. Pino said her direction enabled him to unearth some of his character’s deeper emotions.
“There was a level of safety, familiarity, of trust that allowed for a lot of that emotional exploration,” the actor explained. “She’s responsible for setting a tone for the set, a level of comfort and confidence. Her understanding of storytelling. She has a very keen understanding of that and what she wants. She’s kind of a champion of that.”
The episode airs Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 9/8C on NBC.
On screen, Olivia Benson has been pulling double duty all season long on Law & Order: SVU, juggling her duties as a new sergeant and a new mom. Off screen, actress and producer Mariska Hargitay can sympathize. Wednesday’s episode (9/8c, NBC) marks Hargitay’s second time in the director’s chair, this time for an episode introducing the estranged father of Det. Nick Amaro (Danny Pino). “It’s an invigorating process for me,” the Emmy winner tells TVGuide.com of her time behind the camera. Hargitay also spoke with TVGuide.com about Benson’s “challenges,” Season 16’s new directions and her SVU future:
You already have a packed schedule on SVU, so what made you want to add to that and direct again? Mariska Hargitay: You know, I loved it. I feel like I’ve been here so long and have found certain rhythms that I find help people stay in the moment. It’s a love of telling stories, of telling the story my way and being able to shape the story. But also my love for actors and my appreciation and respect for the process, but I also love helping to create an environment where I can get an actor’s best work. Just loving the creative process and finding the unexpected.
This episode is a big one for Danny Pino because we get to meet his character’s father [Armand Assante]. What kind of conversations do you have before filming?
Hargitay: It was so beautiful and so great and exciting to work with both Danny and [Assante]. Both of them were so willing to take risks and try different colors. For Danny, it was very exciting because it was this chance to explore a different side of his character. Armand, it was just a great moment-by-moment surprise. Danny and I talked about opposites and trying things differently and finding the humor and the lighter moments, or the unexpected response, or never knowing what was going to happen next. Finding light in dark or dark in light, trying to switch up the moment and how full a moment it can be.
What new sides do you think viewers will see to Danny’s character in this episode?
Hargitay: The episode is obviously about fathers and sons and wounds and denial and covering up and our commitment to cover things up to protect those vulnerable areas within us, which we will try at all costs to protect. Amaro’s a cop and he’s a protector and he’s had a lot of rage and anger, and this story line is about finding out what’s under that and why? What is he protecting and how far will he go to protect it?
The squad has undergone lots of changes this season: Rollins just took a break and Carisi joined the team, and Nick started out the season as a traffic cop. Why is it important to shake up the team?
Hargitay: A) It’s interesting and B) different chemistries bring out different things. But also, that’s life, right? People go through their personal journeys and they bring their personalities and journeys to work, and I think it’s more compelling to tell the story of someone trying to do their job with all the baggage from their past. I think it just enriches it so much to know, why is Rollins so guarded? Why is she defensive? Now we know and now we feel for her so deeply. … We all see Amaro’s anger, so we try to rally around him. We all saw that Rollins was hiding something. Just getting to know these characters that we love.
This season has seen Benson become a mom while still being in charge of the squad. What have you enjoyed about this latest chapter for her? How do you think being a mom has changed her so far?
Hargitay: That’s what’s been fun for me to play this season, growing that aspect of her personality. Playing Mama Bear to her squad, Mama Bear to the victims, Mama Bear to Noah, she’s in charge of all these people and still figuring out how to do it. Her job is totally new. Part of her job is to keep herself alive now in a new kind of way for Noah. Where before she’d be so singularly focused on getting it done and being fearless and now it’s like, wait a minute, I got to get it done, but at the end of the day, my most important job description is caring for this child. It’s been fun to evolve the character in that way. Everything is different now. Everything.
Last season was a big one for the show with the “Save Benson” trilogy. How do you think SVU has kept up that momentum and continued to keep things fresh this season?
Hargitay: It feels like these writers are a bottomless well of ideas. Because I have to say that there was concern after last year and the depth that we went to of how they were going to sustain it. But I think the show this year has been so compelling and so interesting and has gone off into such interesting directions. It’s fun to see our other characters get fleshed out, like the Rollins episode or the Amaro episode. I want to see a Carisi episode and I think everybody else does too. And that’s been really exciting to watch. I have to say every week I’m pleasantly surprised at how these shows come together and how they are still so compelling. We get really amazing guest stars. I think we have a first-rate cast and really strong writing that absolutely keeps me glued to the show. I think that the writing has been pretty darn incredible and I’m still in.
Why do you think the show still has more stories to tell?
Hargitay: I look at the news everyday and see the issues and crimes we deal with continually making headlines and being debated as legal issues pushing new and renewed legislation — such as the Violence Against Women Act — and as social issues affecting women and society as a whole. SVU is able to start conversations and humanize these problems. We are able to show all sides of an issue, as we did with our Domestic Violence episode this fall, in an episode that portrayed of institutionalized racism (and was nominated for an NAACP Award), the episodes where we both educated and explored the rise in rapes on college campuses — and even in the episode that explored the problem of the rape kit backlog. I feel very fortunate that our show is in a position where we can start a conversation on national TV about these issues in a way that people can empathize with and see the human element involved. We tell stories that matter, stories that can change the lives of individual viewers — and stories that can change the tenor of the conversation and viewpoints of our entire audience.
Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.