Another member of the extended Law & Order: Special Victims Unit family is coming back this season. Danny Pino, who starred as Det. Nick Amaro, will return to the series to celebrate its 500th episode. Pino has not appeared on the show since his character left at the end of Season 16. His return comes a year after Christopher Meloni's return as Det. Elliot Stabler following a 10-year absence.
On Sept. 27, Wolf Entertainment announced that the Mayans M.C. star will be back for the 500th episode. "So... anything new SVU Direhards?" Pino jokingly asked on Twitter after the news was revealed. The news came about a week after Ice-T, who has played Det. Odafin "Fin" Tutola since Season 2, told fans filming was about to start on the 500th episode. "This could only happen with rock-solid Fans... Thank you! It's gonna be good," Ice-T teased.
Amaro was introduced in Season 13, the first season without Meloni. He worked with now-Capt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Det. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish), who are both still on the show. He had a complicated relationship with Rollins, who is now in a secret relationship with A.D.A. Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino). Amaro left at the end of Season 16 when he decided he did not have a future with SVU and moved to California to be closer to his children.
Pino has expressed interest in returning to SVU in the past. "Look, Amaro is still alive," Pino told Give Me My Remote in 2019. "I'm not sure where any of that stands, but I'm very happy on my end...But I love Amaro. And I love what he stood for. I love his complications [and] his inconsistencies. I really enjoyed that. And I think [showrunner] Warren [Leight] is a true singular talent, so I was happy to see that he that he came back. I see SVU as family that lives on the other side of the country, that I keep an eye on and I wish the best for. I'm so proud of being a small part of that legacy."
Since leaving SVU, Pino has remained busy. He now stars in FX's Sons of Anarchy spinoff Mayans M.C. as Miguel Galindo. He also had a recurring role in ABC's Scandal. He can now be seen on the big screen in Dear Evan Hansen as Larry Mora.
Law & Order: SVU kicked off its 23rd season last week, alongside Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2. SVU airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, with OC immediately following. The 500th episode of SVU is scheduled to air on Oct. 21 and will be available to stream on Peacock the next day.