Nick Amaro

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Nicolas "Nick" Amaro
Law & Order character
Det Nick Amaro.png
First appearance "Personal Fouls"
Last appearance "Surrendering Noah"
Portrayed by Danny Pino
Time on show 2011–2015
Seasons 13, 14, 15, 16
Credited appearances 94 episodes (SVU)
2 episodes (CPD)
96 episodes (total)
Title NYPD Senior Detective
Family Cesaria Amaro
Nicolas Fiorello Amaro
Sonya Amaro
Zara Amaro
Maria Grazie Amaro
Gilberto Mancheno
Partner Olivia Benson
Dominick Carisi Jr.
Amanda Rollins

Nicolas "Nick" Amaro is a fictional character on the NBC police procedural drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, portrayed by Danny Pino. Amaro is a detective with the Manhattan SVU at the 16th Precinct of the New York City Police Department.


Amaro's father, Nicolas Amaro, Sr. (Armand Assante), was abusive to both his mother and him, and later fled to Miami, Florida. Amaro is of Cuban descent and attributes his firm belief in divorce to watching his mother, Cesaria (Nancy Ticotin), suffer through her marriage.[1] Amaro testifies against his father when Nicolas is accused of beating his new fiancee, Gabriela, but the elder Amaro is acquitted. After the trial, Amaro and his father make a tentative reconciliation. [2]

Amaro is fluent in Spanish,[3] and has some Latin. He was married at the start of his tenure with SVU, with a young daughter named Zara.[4]

His wife, Maria (Laura Benanti), is stationed overseas for a year, reporting in Iraq, and their marriage is strained by her deployment. In the fourteenth season premiere, she reveals to Amaro that she is accepting a job in Washington, D.C., and following an argument, they separate. Amaro questions if Maria was diagnosed with PTSD, and expresses his regret that he did not try harder to understand what she was going through.[5] Maria offers to reconcile with Amaro if he moves to California with her and Zara. He ultimately refuses to do so, however. [6]

He also has a son with a former girlfriend, Cynthia, named Gil, whom he meets for the first time in the episode "Undercover Blue".

Character within SVU[edit]

Amaro is a NYPD Detective 2nd Grade who transfers to the Special Victims Unit after spending time with both the Warrants and Narcotics squads. Like Fin, he had previously worked undercover while in Narcotics.[7] Initially, Amaro does not see eye to eye with his new partner, Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), mainly because she misses her old partner, Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). Despite their rocky start, however, Amaro and Benson grow to have a mutual respect for each other and work well together.[7][8]

During his early days in SVU, Amaro has a tough time dealing with the horrible crimes he sees every day, and tells Benson he has the urge to physically assault a suspect. She tells him the better solution would be to ensure that the perpetrators never see the light of day again. In the episode "Hunting Ground", Amaro fatally shoots a serial killer who has kidnapped Benson and another woman. It is the first time he has ever killed anyone, and he is badly shaken by the experience.[9]

In the episode "Valentine's Day", he sees his wife go into an apartment of a man he does not know.[1] In "Street Revenge", while trying to work a case of vigilante justice, he shadows his wife to see where she goes during the day; he assaults the man she was seen with. She subsequently finds out, and they get into a heated argument in the SVU squad room in front of his colleagues that Munch later proclaims was the moment he knew that their marriage was over. She tells him that the man he saw her with is a psychiatrist she is seeing because she is trying to adapt back into her old life.[10] Amaro is clearly rattled by this, and in subsequent episodes, begins suppressing his anger until it explodes during the investigation into madame Delia Wilson, when he threatens to shoot Detective Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) if Cassidy does not tell him for whom he is working undercover. This, along with his erratic behavior, briefly alienates his SVU colleagues; for example, they are reluctant to give him sensitive information regarding the false charges against Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek), fearing that he will make matters worse.[11][12]

In "Twenty-Five Acts", Amaro asks temporary SVU commanding officer Captain Harris (Adam Baldwin) to let him work their rape case solo, telling Benson that she needed a partner she could trust. Benson ends up working the case with Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish).[13]

In the episode, "Undercover Blue", Cassidy is put on trial for rape. Amaro is called to the stand by ADA Derek Strauss, who asks about his undercover work. When Cassidy's lawyer questions him, Amaro is forced to reveal that he had a romantic relationship with the sister of a drug lord he was investigating undercover. Munch then informs him that the NYPD brass is requesting he take a paternity test because the woman is claiming he has a son from the relationship. He goes to the woman's house to confront her, but is denied by her boyfriend. Later, while watching the boyfriend pick the boy up from school, he witnesses the man use the boy as a carrier during a drug deal. Amaro then meets the boy and tells the woman that her boyfriend is using their son to deal drugs. After Cassidy apologizes to Amaro for what his lawyer did, Cassidy helps Amaro bust the boyfriend for drug dealing. The episode concludes with Amaro knocking on the woman's door, and her reluctantly letting him in.

In "Born Psychopath", he is shot by a 10-year-old boy while apprehending him for abusing a young girl.

Amaro begins to show great concern when Rollins, a recovering gambling addict, falls off the wagon, and they grow closer. In the episode "Reasonable Doubt", he comes out of a shower in Rollins' apartment, implying that they had been intimate. In "Holden's Manifesto", a murder suspect asks them if they are sleeping together; they do not answer the question, and change the subject.

Amaro is arrested for assaulting a suspect, Simon Wilkes (Joshua Malina), while off duty.[6][14] He is then charged by the District Attorney and placed on leave. The charges are subsequently dropped, but he is demoted and reassigned to the 116th Precinct in Queens as a patrol officer.[15] At Benson's request, he is reinstated to SVU after his by-the-book handling of the arrest of Hollywood starlet Tensley Evans (Stevie Lynn Jones).[16]

In the season 16 finale, Amaro plans to take the sergeant's exam and move up the ranks. However, Benson tells him that, because of his history of misconduct accusations, the NYPD will never promote him no matter how well he does; angered, Amaro throws his study materials in the garbage. Shortly thereafter, Amaro is involved in a courtroom shootout with Johnny Drake, a brutal sex trafficker and pimp (who is also the biological father of Benson's adopted son). Drake dies from his injuries, while Amaro is hit in the liver and knee. Amaro survives the shootout and is seen in crutches at the end of the episode, requiring three months of physical therapy. He reveals to Benson that he intends to retire from the NYPD because his inability to move up the ranks, in addition to his injuries, makes him ineffective as a cop. He plans to move to California, since Maria is now in Los Angeles with Zara, and Cynthia is planning to move to San Diego with Gil.[17]

At the beginning of season 17, Rollins mentions that Amaro is now living in Los Angeles, undergoing physical therapy for his injuries, and angling for a position with the United States Park Police.[18]

Awards and decorations[edit]

The following are the medals and service awards worn by Detective Amaro, as seen in "Girls Disappeared" and "Producer's Backend".

American Flag Breast Bar.jpg American Flag Breast Bar
Mpd.jpg NYPD Meritorious Police Duty
NYPD EPD.jpg NYPD Excellent Police Duty

Appearances and crossovers[edit]


In June 27, 2011, NBC announced that Kelli Giddish and Danny Pino would be brought on as the new series regulars.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Valentine's Day". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 8. April 18, 2012. NBC. 
  2. ^ "Padre Sandunguero". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 16. Episode 12. January 21, 2015. NBC. 
  3. ^ "Blood Brothers". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 3. October 5, 2011. NBC. 
  4. ^ "Missing Pieces". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 5. October 19, 2011. NBC. 
  5. ^ "Traumatic Wound". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 14. Episode 21. May 1, 2013. NBC. 
  6. ^ a b "Thought Criminal". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 15. Episode 23. May 14, 2014. NBC. 
  7. ^ a b "Personal Fouls". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 2. September 28, 2011. NBC. 
  8. ^ "Blood Brothers". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 3. October 5, 2011. NBC. 
  9. ^ "Hunting Ground". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 15. February 22, 2012. NBC. 
  10. ^ "Street Revenge". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 13. Episode 19. April 25, 2012. NBC. 
  11. ^ "Lost Reputation". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 14. Episode 01. September 26, 2012. NBC. 
  12. ^ "Above Suspicion". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 14. Episode 02. September 26, 2012. NBC. 
  13. ^ "Twenty-Five Acts". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 14. Episode 03. October 10, 2012. NBC. 
  14. ^ "Spring Awakening". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 15. Episode 24. May 21, 2014. NBC. 
  15. ^ "Girls Disappeared". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 16. Episode 1. September 24, 2014. NBC. 
  16. ^ "Producer's Backend". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 16. Episode 3. October 8, 2014. NBC. 
  17. ^ "Surrendering Noah". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 16. Episode 23. May 20, 2015. NBC. 
  18. ^ "Devil's Dissections". Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Season 17. Episode 1. September 23, 2015. NBC. 
  19. ^ Seidman, Robert (June 27, 2011). "NBC Signs Kelli Giddish (Chase) and Danny Pino (Cold Case) as New Detectives for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved June 27, 2011.