Although Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is now in its record-breaking 21st season, the show continues to find new ways to surprise its audience and weave new characters into the squad. This year, viewers were introduced to Det. Katrionia "Kat" Azar Tamin, played by Jamie Gray Hyder. In future episodes of the show, we can expect to see Kat shake off some nerves as she gets used to working with Capt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Hyder said in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com.
"I think you're going to see Kat continue to sort of be Kat in the upcoming episodes," Hyder said. "[She's] maybe still be a little over eager, but I think that you'll see her start to calm down a little bit and sort of become more a part of the unit and really support the other characters throughout the rest of the season."
The issue for Kat is not inexperience with policing, but learning the differences between handling SVU cases and the undercover work she did before. In
"Redemption In Her Corner," Kat's breakthrough episode, fans saw how Kat's inexperience with sexual assault victims led her to make assumptions. In the end, her instincts did help SVU uncover a traumatic case involving a father raping his daughters, but it might not always work out.
"I just think that she's always worked in a very different style," Hyder explained. "I think having worked a lot undercover and working in [vice], you're often having to think on your feet and do what's best in the situation. In SVU, you're often coming in in a more reactionary position where something's already happened and you're having to now deal with it and figure out how to solve this crime and give justice to the person, the victims involved. That requires a different process I think that she's not as familiar with and is becoming very quickly familiar with, but still has a little ways to go."
While Kat has to learn how to fit in with SVU, Hyder has to figure out how to play the character. Since Kat was not devised as a brand new officer right out of the police academy, Hyder had to begin by playing Kat as a police officer with plenty of cases under her belt.
"For me it was about figuring out how to be comfortable in my character as quickly as possible," Hyder said. "I mean no one expected me to be as familiar with Kat as Mariska is with Olivia or [Ice-T] with Fin, but you have to kind of meet them in that place as quickly as possible I think to keep sort of the grounded nature of the show."
"It's part of the conventions of Kat to kind of step outside the lines and show us a different side of law enforcement, but to really fit with the style of the show, you really got to get your ABCs figured out pretty quickly so that everything feels natural and realistic and you're not dealing with sort of this high drama type material," Hyder added.
There is a good chance Kat will be around for a while. Last month, NBC renewed SVU for three more seasons, keeping it on air through 2023. If the writers have more cases in mind for Kat, Hyder will be around to pick them up.
"It's been such a great experience and I love living in New York and to be part of such an iconic show is just something I don't take lightly," Hyder said. "So as long as they'll have me, I will be there giving my best."
New episodes of Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC