Danny Pino shared kind words about his former Law & Order: SVU co-star Mariska Hargitay. The Mayans M.C. star spoke about the NBC crime procedural series' landmark 21st season, officially making it the longest-running drama in television history.
The actor, who played NYPD detective Nick Amaro from 2011 to 2015, spoke about the show's milestone.
"I try to stay in contact with a lot of them," he told PEOPLE Now when asked about his co-stars. "I think I sent out a few tweets to celebrate that they're legal now. 21, that's amazing. What an achievement and to be a very small part of that legacy, you know, it's an honor for me."
"The actors who continue that legacy right are so incredible," he added. "Not only that, but when you count the guest stars who have come through that show, and the storytelling of that show. I have so much respect for it."
Pino also praised Hargitay for her work both on-camera and out of the show with her Joyful Heart Foundation, which supports assault and abuse survivors.
"Her generosity, she's so grounded. She's incredibly talented, and obviously dedicated, not only to Olivia Benson but to her foundation. And bringing healing to survivors," Pino told the outlet.
Hargitay and series creator Dick Wolf sat down for an interview with USA Today to reflect on the big milestone season.
"You have to take stock of these 21 years and the origins of it and how it happened and (Wolf's) vision," Hargitay said. "And sometimes, for me, it feels like his vision is so awe-inspiring, it's hard to download how one person could not think of one show, but all these shows. And then after 20 years end, he's like 'Don't worry about it, I'll do it again.'"
During the interview, Hargitay started getting emotional when discussing the impact the series and its difficult subject matters have had on the world.
"Especially when the material is so good and layered and complex, you want to do it justice and elevate it if you can," she said. "Because of the subject matter, we all feel such a profound responsibility to do it right, and to do it with empathy and love and authenticity."
The pair also admired the show's ability to survive the loss of Christopher Meloni over contract negotiations, shifting the show from a two-detective show to a one-lead drama.0comments
"This was a classic two-hander with her and Chris (Meloni). To go from a dual-lead show to a single-lead show, and to have it survive and prosper, is a miracle," Wolf told the outlet. "Everybody at NBC assumed the year after Chris left would be the last of the show, and she turned it around. It was a little-noted but huge accomplishment. It's amazing that the entire structure of the show changed."
Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.