'Law & Order: SVU' Hinting at Another Major Exit

The first Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode of February hinted that another detective could be on the way out. After losing Det. Amanda Rollins earlier this season, Capt. Olivia Benson might need to fire Det. Joe Velasco based on what we learned in the Feb. 2 episode "Intersection." The episode also made it clear that Bronx Det. Terry Bruno is coming aboard.

The main case in "Intersection" found the Manhattan SVU investigating the bizarre serial rapes of women after they were involved in near-fatal car accidents. The detectives learned that the rapist obtained an ambulance after discovering that his wife was having an affair, then he disguised himself as an EMT to rape the crash victims. He also used a device to stop traffic lights, meaning he was prepared to commit his crimes the moment two vehicles collided.

While that case was going on, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) had to figure out what to do about Velasco (Octavio Pisano). Towards the end of the BX9 story arc, Det. Toni Churlish (Jasmine Batchelor) gave Benson a recording from a witness interview she conducted with Velasco, in which he offered cocaine to get the witness to talk. Realizing that Velasco has maintained a close relationship with Det. Grace Muncy (Molly Burnett), Benson plays the recording for Muncy. We learn that Velasco also told the witness that he murdered someone for an unknown boss.

Muncy's first reaction to this is that Velasco must have lied to get the information from the witness he wants. Cops (especially those in Law & Order shows) do that all the time. But Benson was not so sure. She asked Muncy to take some time off and ignore Velasco's calls if he reaches out to her. She also told Muncy not to tell anyone.

Benson is in a difficult position here. Velasco had a rough upbringing, but that does not seem to be where Benson's line of thought goes first. She thinks it is possible that Velasco really killed someone and is using this as a chance to test Muncy's loyalty. If Benson has to fire Velasco, the Manhattan SVU will still have an empty desk. Velasco was assigned to SVU to spy on the team for Chief Tommy McGrath (Terry Serpico), which will lead Benson to wonder what McGrath knew about Velasco's past.

Meanwhile, Det. Odafin Tutola's (Ice T) endorsement of Bruno will likely lead to him joining the Manhattan SVU full-time. Bruno was impressive during the main rape investigation in "Intersection" and he seems like a dedicated detective. Bruno is played by Kevin Kane, who has previously played different minor characters in Law & Order and SVU episodes. He also played Officer Mike Sorenson on Chicago P.D. Season 4.

Unfortunately, SVU fans will have to wait two weeks to find out what Velasco's future is. The next new episode, "Dutch Tears," does not air until Feb. 16 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, between Law & Order and Law & Order: Organized Crime. All episodes are streaming on Peacock.