Dominick Carisi Jr.

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Dominick "Sonny" Carisi Jr.
Law & Order character
Det Dominick Carisi.jpg
Peter Scanavino as Dominick "Sonny" Carisi
First appearance "Girls Disappeared"
Portrayed by Peter Scanavino
Time on show 2014–present
Seasons 16, 17, 18, 19, 20
Credited appearances 92 episodes (SVU)
1 episode (CPD)
93 episodes (total)
Title NYPD Junior Detective
Family Bella Carisi
Gina Carisi
Theresa Carisi
Mia Morino
Partner Amanda Rollins
Fin Tutuola
Nick Amaro

Dominick "Sonny" Carisi Jr. is a fictional character on the NBC police procedural drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, portrayed by Peter Scanavino. Carisi is a detective with the Manhattan SVU at the 16th Precinct of the New York Police Department. His badge number is 0188.


Carisi, an Italian-American, is an inexperienced detective who transfers to the Manhattan Special Victims Unit as Detective Nick Amaro's (Danny Pino) temporary replacement when Amaro is reassigned to Queens. He began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer in the Bronx. After getting his detective's shield, he did some time in Vice and then did a few stints in the Special Victims Units for various boroughs before transferring to Manhattan SVU. He has never served in the military, despite what others may say.

Carisi grew up in Staten Island ("off Arden [Avenue]") which is where his parents still reside. He is Roman Catholic, and wanted to be a priest when he was a child; two of his cousins are in the priesthood. His badge number is 0188.

Character within SVU[edit]

Carisi gets off to a rough start with his new colleagues in the sixteenth season premiere episode "Girls Disappeared", coming off as blunt and insensitive during his initial meeting with Sergeant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish).[1] He is nonetheless a talented detective with a knack for interrogations, getting suspects to talk by playing the "good cop". He also eventually wins his colleagues' respect and friendship.

Unlike his older, more seasoned colleagues, he has difficulty keeping his emotions in check when confronted by the horrific crimes he sees. He is particularly upset by a case in which a prominent dentist rapes his own niece; while taking the dentist's fingerprints, Carisi loses his temper and nearly breaks the man's hand.[2]

In the fifth episode, it is revealed that Carisi has permanently joined the Manhattan SVU team. In the same episode, Carisi helps turn one suspect against another during the investigation of a porn star's rape, earning him praise from Benson.[3] Throughout season 16, he mentions that he is going to night classes at Fordham University's law school. A running joke has Carisi annoying Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza) with unsolicited advice on how to prosecute cases. Barba eventually allows Carisi to shadow him for a trial, with Carisi helping Barba spot a key inconsistency in a witness' testimony. Some months later, Carisi reveals that he has recently taken the bar exam and thanks Barba for the earlier opportunity. The season 17 episode "Intersecting Lives" reveals that Carisi has passed the exam; however, in the season finale "Heartfelt Passages," he decides to postpone his plans to become an assistant district attorney for the time being. At the end of the episode, he serves as a pallbearer for Sgt. Mike Dodds (Andy Karl) after the latter is killed by a corrupt corrections officer.

In "Parole Violations", his sister Bella's (Marin Ireland) fiancé Tommy (Michael Chernus) reports that his female parole officer raped him at gunpoint in her office. While he dislikes Tommy, Carisi comes to believe his story and works hard to make sure that the woman is brought to justice.

In "Next Chapter", he is held at gunpoint and nearly killed by a rape suspect, former police Sgt. Tom Cole (Chris Bauer). Benson saves him by shooting Cole in the back of the head, killing him.

In "In Loco Parentis", Carisi's niece Mia (Ryann Shane) says she was raped by a fellow classmate, Ethan (Sam Vartholomeos), at a college party, but later admits it was consensual. However, Ethan rapes her for real in her room after she invited him over to apologize. Carisi takes the stand in Ethan's trial and admits what Mia told him. ADA Peter Stone (Philip Winchester) gets Ethan to confess to the rape, for which he is sentenced to seven years in prison. Carisi helps Mia move out of her dorm and tells her that she was not at fault for what happened to her.

In "Sunk Cost Fallacy", while driving a victim, Jules Hunter (Sarah Wilson), to her house, Carisi's car is hit by a car ignoring a stop sign; the driver flees the scene, with the car being reported as stolen two days prior. Carisi is injured, and Jules is killed. It is suspected that their car was hit by Jules' husband, Nick (Scott Porter).

Appearances and crossovers[edit]


He’s a total outsider... he's not very experienced so he puts his foot in his mouth a lot of times ... I think he’s a good detective, but he's got a lot to learn on how to approach cases.

Peter Scanavino on Carisi's character[4]

In May 2014 following the conclusion of the fifteenth season finale episode, SVU Executive Producer Warren Leight revealed that a new detective would temporarily replace Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) for the first three episodes of the sixteenth season.[5]

Peter Scanavino was approached to portray Detective Dominick Carisi, "a guy who has a little less polish...who maybe needs a little bit of refining". Initially, Scanavino was not a permanent addition to the cast, but rather a guest star. However, he was promoted to the main cast in the fifth episode of the same season, "Pornstar's Requiem".[5][6]

Carisi is not the only character Scanavino has portrayed in the Law & Order franchise. In 2013, Scanavino guest-starred in SVU's fourteenth season episode, "Monster's Legacy", as an attempted murderer, Johnny Dubcek. Prior to that, he had appeared in Law & Order: Trial by Jury, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order in various roles.


  1. ^ "Girls Disappeared". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 16. Episode 1. September 24, 2014. NBC.
  2. ^ "Decaying Morality". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 16. Episode 13. February 4, 2015. NBC.
  3. ^ "Pornstar's Requiem". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 16. Episode 5. October 22, 2014. NBC.
  4. ^ Weigle, Lauren. "'Law And Order: SVU' – Peter Scanavino as Detective Dominick 'Sonny' Carisi". Heavy. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Standhope, Kate (May 21, 2014). "Postmortem: Law & Order: SVU Boss on Amaro's Future and the Squad's New Addition". TV Guide. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Swift, Andy (August 19, 2014). "Law & Order: SVU Season 16 First Look: Meet Olivia Benson's New Protégé". TVLine. Retrieved October 24, 2014.