Spoilers ahead for Episode 8 of Law & Order: SVU Season 23, called “Nightmares in Drill City.”
Law & Order: SVU tackled an unconventional case in “Nightmares in Drill City,” as Special Victims was brought into a Homicide case by Carisi, rather than the usual situation of Special Victims pulling in Carisi. He has usually been a strong ally for his old unit, but he found himself clashing with Benson and Rollins when he had to prioritize a young woman’s potential guilt as a murderer over her history of abuse. His bosses thought he wasn’t pushing hard enough on the young woman, while Special Victims thought he was pushing much too hard. It was a rough hour for Carisi, but that ultimately might be a good thing.
Carisi’s bosses weren’t exactly thrilled with him for most of the episode as he tried to reconcile his instincts as a former SVU cop who maintained strong ties to SVU with his job prosecuting a triple homicide. They were openly doubtful that he has what it takes to be an effective prosecutor, at least outside of the SVU cases. In fact, his career seemed like it was going to take a massive hit until he inspired his bosses to go for compassion in this particular case. His words got through to them, and the case got about as happy of an ending as possible for a triple homicide/sexual abuse case on Law & Order: SVU. His ordeal in this episode set him up to reach new heights in his career.
And that could mean more appearances on Law & Order: Organized Crime and potentially even the Law & Order revival when that comes to NBC. Carisi proved in “Nightmares in Drill City” that he’s perfectly capable of prosecuting cases outside of Special Victims, and Peter Scanavino has even appeared on Organized Crime already. I can imagine this case being used as proof that Carisi could be an asset on all the Law & Order shows.
That’s not to say that I want SVU to lose him as a series regular, but Carisi could be a great way to tie the shows together even more. The close ties between SVU and Organized Crime have been good for boosting both shows, so it’s likely that the franchise will continue the trend. Particularly once the original Law & Order is back!
Plus, if Carisi is better able to prosecute cases for Homicide and other departments, it’s possible that could simplify things if and when the truth comes out about his secret relationship with Rollins. Their romance seems to be going strong, despite her being “sad” at him in “Nightmares in Drill City” for how hard he went at the abuse victim, and despite SVU mostly keeping the relationship off-screen. The longer they go without disclosing, the more nervous I get that they’ll be found out and get into trouble, but whatever happens, Carisi proving himself at prosecuting cases that have no connection to Rollins as an investigator has to be a good thing.
And at the end of the day, SVU is so case-heavy that it’s always fun to get an episode that really delves into a character, and Carisi hasn’t gotten so many of those episodes ever since moving from his work as an SVU detective to an ADA. The next episode will be a big crossover with Law & Order: Organized Crime that revisits the Richard Wheatley case (with Barba in the mix), so there may not be too much focus on Carisi. Find out with the next new episode of Law & Order: SVU on Thursday, December 9 at 9 p.m. ET as the Season 23 fall finale.
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