When it comes to Law & Order: SVU‘s very transitional 13th season, the NBC procedural not only didn’t fumble the ball, it scored a touchdown — if you buy into one cast member’s metaphor.
Entering the fall minus Chris Meloni’s Stabler and adding in Kelli Giddish and Danny Pino as new arrivals, “We had to regroup, like a football team,” says Ice-T. “The quarterback changed, but we still had to move the ball down the field. And we did well.”
Praising the new team members, Fin’s portrayer says, “Danny came in, strong. Kelli came in, strong. And we shut down the doubters.”
Both Giddish and Pino say they received not only a “very warm welcome” from SVU‘s cast and crew, but saw their respective characters explored more than they could hope for in their first season.
As Atlanta transplant Det. Amanda Rollins, “They’ve given me a lot to work with — and I hope they give me more next season,” says Giddish. “Were still playing ‘musical chairs’ in terms of partners, and that’s a great way to go about exploring the different characters.”
Adds Pino, “That’s what you hope for when you’re putting it down on paper and discussing what you want to play. I had [pre-season] conversations with [showrunner] Warren Leight, and you hope that starts materializing — and it did. And that bodes well going into Season 14.”
For Pino’s Det. Nick Amaro, one part of his personal life — a shaky marriage to Laura Benanti’s Maria — will be touched on in tonight’s season finale. “There’s a scene that may or may not illuminate where their future is headed,” he hints. (Perhaps Matt Perry, or at least his new NBC sitcom costarring Benanti, plays into that plot point?)
As for the more dire elements of the Season 13 finale, all of the aforementioned actors hint at exciting, if not potentially grim, things.
“It’s a great cliffhanger, one that really mirrors a lot of stuff that’s been going on in front-page news,” says Giddish. Adds Pino, “It doesn’t end well [for certain characters], let’s put it that way. In fact it’s such a cliffhanger, if I say anything more, I’m going to give it up!”
Ice-T reveals that during the intense season-ender, “A lot of people end up in harm’s way.” And having been down this annual road before with SVU, he reminds, “You don’t want to go into the finale bleeding or shot, because that is not good. It’s hard for [contract] negotiations, too!”