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Law And Order: SVU Is Bringing Back A Familiar Face With A Twist, Plus Ties To Carisi

law and order svu carisi rebecca balthus side by side
(Image credit: NBC)

Law & Order: SVU will put the focus back on Carisi in the not-too-distant future, after Peter Scanavino’s character took a bit of a backseat in recent episodes despite a showcase in the first half of Season 23. Not only is an upcoming episode going to dig into Carisi’s family more deeply than ever before, but the show is bringing back a familiar face to do it… with a twist. Beverly D’Angelo, who is already an SVU alum, is on board to play Ma Carisi in Season 23. So, fans will see a familiar face with the actress returning, but not a familiar character!

Carisi is heading home for a family dinner in an episode that will air in March, according to TVLine, and that dinner will feature none other than Carisi’s mom. She has been mentioned on the show before, and other members of the Carisi family have turned up in seasons past, but this will be the first appearance of his mother. She will, however, be the second character on the show played by Beverly D’Angelo. 

Beverly D’Angelo (who is likely best known for her role in the National Lampoon’s Vacation film and its popular sequels) previously appeared on SVU for several episodes between Season 5 and Season 9. She played public defender Rebecca Balthus, who was a thorn in the side of the Special Victims detectives (and the ADAs) more often than not. Fans who have been watching SVU since Season 5 (or have caught the reruns on cable or binge-watched via streaming) may recognize the actress when she makes her debut as Carisi’s mom. 

Of course, she’s far from the first SVU actor to play more than one character on the long-running show. In fact, Peter Scanavino himself appeared in a Season 14 episode as a character with a very complicated past before debuting as Detective Carisi in Season 16, and Kelli Giddish played an assault victim in Season 8 before returning in Season 13 to play Detective Amanda Rollins. And they’re only two examples of actors who have played multiple characters within the Law & Order franchise before Beverly D’Angelo.

With D’Angelo’s last appearance on SVU as a public defender happening more than a decade ago in Season 9 in 2008, it shouldn’t be difficult at all to accept her as the Carisi family matriarch. She also won’t be the only long-absent member of the family to return. Ryann Shane will be back as Mia, Carisi’s niece, who last appeared in Season 19. 

There are currently no details about anybody else who might be at the family dinner, but is it too much to hope that Rollins will be present? I maintain that the Rollisi relationship has been one of the bright spots of a season that has largely been as dark as ever for this show, although the milestone 500th episode delivered some closure for Benson that had been a long time coming. 

The fairly frequent crossovers between SVU and spinoff Law & Order: Organized Crime aren’t exactly the lightest affairs, either, even when Benson and Stabler are getting along! Even though Rollins and Carisi’s romance hasn’t been front and center in Season 23, it seems to be going well off screen. Besides, he met her dad back when he appeared in Season 22; why shouldn’t she meet his mom? 

The episode that will bring in members of Carisi’s family will reportedly air in March, although no specific date is available at this point. SVU, like many of NBC’s other biggest hits of the 2021-2022 TV season, is currently facing a mini hiatus until late February while the Olympics take over primetime for a few weeks, but you can find some upcoming viewing options on our 2022 TV schedule.

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.