When fans were first introduced to detective Dominick "Sonny" Carisi on Law & Order: SVU several years ago, his brash and argumentative nature failed to endear him to many (especially his new SVU co-workers). But, Carisi, while still very steadfast in his own opinions, has proven himself to be gifted at his chosen profession, which is now working as the Assistant District Attorney for the Special Victims Unit. Even though he's been in his new job for almost two years, he's still experiencing some growing pains, and now we know that Carisi will be "conflicted" when Season 22 of SVU returns from hiatus.
Carisi passed the bar several years ago, but only recently made a full transition from an SVU police detective skilled at interrogating suspects to fulfilling a different role in the legal system. We haven't seen him go through too much strife so far in Season 22, but that's going to change when Law & Order: SVU returns early next year. Executive producer Warren Leight spoke to Give Me My Remote about what fans can expect from the drama when it comes back, and said that Carisi's professional life is about to get a bit more complicated, noting:
Carisi’s transition from cop to ADA continues this season…he catches more complicated cases, he gets better at his job. As he does, he moves farther away from his old squad, and from his life as a police officer. SVU detectives are often first or early responders to a crime scene. They will bond with a vic on the worst night of their life, accompany them to a hospital, walk them through the post-assault path to survivorship. ADAs come in later, and are faced with a different task: how to prosecute the perp. They have to be less emotional and more analytical. As Carisi changes, he’ll be conflicted internally, and there will be more tension between him and his former squad mates.
Man, nothing's ever easy, is it? Carisi has been shown to be great at dealing with victims in the past with his work as a detective, but working now as an ADA means he'll have to continue to learn how to pull back from some of his more emotional tendencies to get his job done. According to Warren Leight, some of this learning curve will begin to hit Carisi much harder when Season 22 returns, as he has to deal with much more difficult cases then in the past.
Viewers watched as Carisi navigated his new colleagues at the SVU, and managed to learn to work well with them and make friends out of them, even with his continued ability to get them riled up with his thoughts on the cases they worked. While he was still a detective, though, they were all much more in the same boat when it came to thinking about how things should be done to best help victims, but as his new role as ADA continues to grow, it sounds like it may become increasingly difficult for him to see eye to eye with former co-workers.
It actually makes a lot of sense that this would all cause a lot of internal conflict, along with the external tribulations to come. Carisi, undoubtedly, is still much more used to being able to handle these case from the viewpoint of a detective, and he's still learning to find his footing as ADA. And, things will really start to change for him when a new case puts Carisi in direct disagreement with former ADA Rafael Barba, who's now working as a defense attorney.
It sounds pretty clear that Carisi is going to have a lot to deal with when SVU comes back after its brief hiatus, but all we can really hope for is that it doesn't make things even harder for that Rollisi ship we'd like to be set to a full sail some time soon.
Law & Order: SVU will return to NBC with new episodes in its historic season on Thursday, January 2, at 9 p.m. EST, but for more on what to watch in the new year, check out our guide to winter / spring premieres!