Law & Order: SVU Review: The Debut of Danny Pino

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Welcome to SVU, Detective Amaro! While I'm still not a hundred percent about Rollins, I think I'm really going to enjoy watching Danny Pino as Amaro. His introductory episode may have been standard SVU fare, but he really stood out as an interesting character in this week's episode, "Personal Fouls."

Kelli Giddish's Detective Rollins didn't have much to do this week, which was fine by me. Her (over) eagerness and silly flirtatious questioning of last week's perp was a little grating, but I still hold out hope that she can develop into a more watchable character.

Unlike Rollins, Amaro transferred in with reserve, despite that crazy beard from his Narcotics stint. He never responded to Benson's hostility with anything more than single question. He was very mature about it, especially given the magnitude of Benson's bitchiness this episode. Although I understand she's still mourning the loss of her partner for the last twelve years, by the middle of the episode, I'd had enough of the snotty quips.

Danny Pino on Law & Order

What really worked about Amaro is that while he was very much a presence throughout the investigation, he let the other, more experienced detectives, take the lead as he learned the ropes. He's also a bit mysterious. His wife is in Iraq for propaganda reasons, but what was with that photo of the little girl? He was going to put it on his desk, then changed his mind and replaced it with a photo of him and his friends. His character has some subtlety and it will be entertaining to watch his back story be revealed throughout the season.

As for the main plot, it was pretty typical fare for SVU. I liked some of the interesting spins on the usual story, like the use of a basketball star as a victim of sexual abuse. The coach's preying on poor, ethnic children and their families was disturbing, especially because he thought he was entitled to touch the boys since he helped them out of their situations. A disturbing line from his new star player, Devon, may not overtly mention the abuse, but it definitely points out how easily these sexual acts can be excused:

You do for Ray, Ray do for you.

By the episode's end, big-time star Prince Miller publicly admits to his abuse at Ray Master's hands and urges other victims to come forward. This scene was, no doubt, meant to be encouraging to victims of abuse, because a powerful man like Prince came forward despite the embarrassment of his admission. It was a touching moment, especially when it was followed by Devon breaking down while watching Prince's press conference.

It was a good episode, but not a great one. What's lacking is the charisma of the ensemble. Where was Munch? Finn had some good moments, commenting on the difficulty of black and Hispanic males to admit to abuse, but he still feels underused. This group is not yet working as a team, and maybe that's Olivia's fault. Or maybe the group just lacks chemistry. I can't wait to see if Benson and Amaro can move past their cold start.

Do you think the team can stir up some chemistry together?


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (59 Votes)

detective amaro's new role as a family man is interesting., it has a curiosity about it, especially since he will play the role of a single dad. his daughter is precious, hope to see more of her and the family dynamics and balance of detective versus single dad.


Biased much? You diss an attractive female character in favor of the attractive male when all they are doing is following their scripts! You wrote "I hope she can develop into a more watchable character" instead of writing "I hope the _writers_ develop this character differently". Yes... it's TV not real life.


I'm giving it some time. Any time I see episodes from Season 1 of SVU, I get bored. It was still a good show, but that chemistry that ended up developing between the actors (and inevitably their characters) wasn't as prominent until later seasons. I do like Detective Amaro's character, and Kelli Giddish is fantastic on The Good Wife...hopefully the writers will explore her character a little more.


Mariska isn't being phased out, she will be in every episode this season. The picture of the little girl is Amaro's four year old daughter.


Kellie Giddish currently has a role in CBS "The Good Wife" where she plays a bi sexual investigator for the DA's office. I don't know how she does 2 roles on 2 different networks. I have stuck with SVU for the entire 12 years even when the writing was horrible, but I don't feel hopeful here. Linus Roache got more face time last week than Finn and Munch and that sort of interaction between Olivia and the Bureau Chief IS a departure from the usual fare.


dang show is up against CSI:VEGAS, so i haven't been able to watch. we haven't LOST munch too, have we?'s bad enough that we lost stabler and wong. alisa


I agree with Maka about Rollin's questioning. It also looks like Rollins has some involvement with sports gambling as she said last night that the Prince character had cost her some money. A gambling detective would be a story. Also, Amaro seems to have some personal issues (besides his accent) that I hope we will discover in the future episodes; could be interesting.


Olivia was definitely not a good team player last night. I actually liked the story, and the ending with the press conference definitely made me emotional. I like the new detective, more than I initially like Kelli Giddish's detective. He was calm and reserved, which was nice. I'm looking forward to learning more about both of them. The picture of the little girl could be his daughter, and maybe he just isn't ready for people to know about her yet. Or it could be a sister that died as a child, maybe a violent crime that made him become a cop.


I'm guessing the little girl is Amaro's daughter, who has died, and Amaro doesn't want people asking him things like, "Oh she's cute. Who is she?"


Didn't watch the season opening and after viewing last night, it was readily apparent that I didn't miss much at all. That’s a rather sad comment after watching the show for 12 years. The show is fractured, the characters disjointed. Where was Munch? Fin was grossly underutilized. Benson appeared lost; Warner’s tiny part a disappointment. The blonde, a colossal waste of time... The new guy, take him or leave him... really didn't add much to show. The departure of Stabler in conjunction with the departure of Wong and the minimal interactions of the "crew" people have been watching for 12 years was a disappointment. Would have been more realistic to have had one of the new characters take Wong's position. For what it is worth, if Stabler can’t be brought back, at least have the blonde exit and develop/utilize the characters that have been in play. Sometimes, change is not all that good, someone forgot the saying, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it�…. May watch it from time-to-time, will certainly stick with reruns.

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Law & Order: SVU Season 13 Episode 2 Quotes

It's hard enough showing one rookie the ropes, and now we have two. I mean, what is this, a daycare center?


This is a whole different world, Serpico. Not everyone has the stomach for it.

Benson to Amaro