Law And Order: SVU Is Finally Bringing Back Rollins, But What About Carisi?

Spoilers ahead for Episode 17 of Law & Order: SVU, called "Once Upon a Time in El Barrio," and previews for next week's Episode 18

Law & Order: SVU returned from a few weeks off with a big episode for Velasco, and the pressure was on more than usual with SVU running low on manpower. After being missing from earlier episodes of Season 23, Rollins was once again absent, and this time Carisi was nowhere to be seen as well. Benson gave a sweet reason for their absence, and the previews for the next episode reveal that Rollins will be back, but Carisi's role is still a mystery. 

Why Rollins And Carisi Were Missing Again

Rollins missed an earlier episode because something happened to her mom off-screen, and she needed to help her out. It sounded like her mom was just a couple of weeks away from not needing the assistance anymore, but she was MIA again in "Once Upon a Time in El Barrio." Benson explained why she and Carisi were both gone, telling Fin

I think everyone just needed a break. And Carisi is taking Rollins and her girls to Orlando for a couple days.

Fin responded with "The things we do for love" and Benson agreed, so at least Rollins and Carisi are gone for a fun reason this time. And based on what seems to be coming next week, Rollins may be happy to have gotten a bit of a break with her girls and Carisi in Florida. 

How The Next Episode Brings Rollins Back

The next episode, which will air on April 14, is called "Eighteen Wheels A Predator" and will take the Special Victims team out of New York City. The episode description sheds some light on what happens and – perhaps most importantly – confirms that Rollins will both be back and have a key role. The description from NBC reads:

Rollins and Fin investigate an assault in Kentucky that has striking similarities to victim found in Central Park. Benson receives intel that turns the case upside down.

It's not often that SVU cases stray too far away from Manhattan, but "Eighteen Wheels A Predator" will evidently follow a case from Central Park down to Kentucky. I'm guessing that the case will be pretty brutal if they stay on across state lines, although I'm not sure that it can get much darker than "Once Upon a Time in El Barrio" lighting a victim on fire and burning her alive in the first few minutes!

Does Carisi Have A Part To Play?

Carisi isn't mentioned in the episode description, although those never give away all the details of what to expect, and his status as an ADA means that he wouldn't exactly have boots on the ground in Kentucky like Rollins and Fin. But the promo for "Eighteen Wheels A Predator" doesn't feature Carisi either. Take a look:

The footage confirms that Benson, Rollins, and Fin will all be present in the episode, as well as Chief McGrath – which may or may not be a good thing, based on his earlier interactions with Benson in Season 23. At this point, there is no guarantee that Peter Scanavino will appear in the next episode. It wouldn't be the first time that Carisi has been nowhere to be seen, and SVU hasn't just abandoned the Rollisi relationship even when one or both aren't in the script. 

Still, hopefully both Rollins and Carisi will be back in the flesh sooner rather than later. If you ask me, the squad room felt far too empty this week with just Benson, Fin, and Velasco. I did speculate previously that SVU might need to separate Rollins and Carisi more professionally, so it should be interesting to see if things are different between them moving forward. Tune in to NBC on Thursday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET to catch the next new episode of Law & Order: SVU in the 2022 TV schedule.

SVU continues to air right in the middle of NBC's full Thursday night of L&O action, between the Law & Order Season 21 at 8 p.m. and Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 at 10 p.m. ET. 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).