Why Law And Order: SVU Exploring The Rollisi Romance Is Exactly What Season 23 Needs

Carisi and Rollins Law and Order svu
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Law & Order: SVU Season 23, called “I Thought You Were On My Side.

Law & Order: SVU was back on NBC for an episode that started off a night of crossover action with Law & Order: Organized Crime, and not in a way that had the two units playing too nicely with each other when it came to a certain perp, and the tension between Benson and Stabler wasn’t the fun kind. The victim of the week was not only sexually assaulted, but also severely injured and facing a long recovery. So, basically, it was a dark hour of TV even by SVU standards, and it left me convinced that SVU finally exploring Rollins and Carisi’s romance is exactly what this season needs. 

Rollins and Carisi had only a few brief moments together in “I Thought You Were On My Side,” involving Carisi venting his frustration about the feds stealing another one of his cases and Rollins pitching the idea of him coming back to SVU as a cop since they’re short-handed after Kat’s departure

There was a little bit of banter about not breaking up with each other, and this exchange coming on the heels of their scene at the end of the two-hour premiere when Carisi told her that he was taking their relationship seriously just went to show that SVU can deliver some lightness to offset all the dark. Plus, Carisi was downright dreamy in that scene last week, so who wouldn’t want to see more of that?

And there’s more to the appeal of Rollisi than just the show serving up something nice and light (again, by SVU standards) when so many of the storylines are so dark. Rollins and Carisi finally getting together after years and years of will they/won’t they was a show of faith that SVU doesn’t necessarily just tease forever with no payoff, no matter how it may seem for all the fans who have two decades of holding out for Benson and Stabler. SVU needed to make a move one way or the other on Rollins and Carisi; luckily, the show made a move in a fun direction! 

Plus, for all that SVU has thrived for more than twenty years and nearly 500 episodes at this point as a procedural focusing on cases, Organized Crime proved that an increased focus on character raises the stakes even more than just the especially heinous offenses committed by the worst of the worst in New York City. 

SVU has also put more focus on other relationships, and I particularly got a kick out of Fin and Benson having coffee together at the beginning of “I Thought You Were On My Side,” and I’m so far pretty satisfied with how the Rollisi romance is unfolding. Plus, there’s not enough smiling on SVU when so much bad happens. If Rollins and Carisi make each other smile, then I vote for smooth sailing for the good ship Rollisi! 

Find out what happens next for Rollins and Carisi with new episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, right before new episodes of Organized Crime at 10 p.m. ET. The Dick Wolf universe is still growing thanks to the upcoming return of the original Law & Order, to join SVU, Organized Crime, the three One Chicago shows, and all three FBIs over on CBS. 

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).