Law & Order SVU Season 26: Cast & Character Guide

Law & Order SVU premiered on September 20, 1999.

Since then, we have all gotten to know and love the New York Detectives who work the Special Victims Unit cases.

Those detectives have changed several times as actors have come and gone from the show. Here are the Law & Order: SVU cast members and characters we’ll follow during season 26.

Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay)

More than 550 episodes of Law & Order: SVU have been produced leading up to Season 26.

Olivia Benson has appeared in all of them.

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She has been there from the beginning; we have seen her grow and evolve beautifully.

As the years passed, she went from being a detective to the head of the entire department.

The show wouldn’t be the same without her.

At this point, Mariska Hargitay is so associated with Captain Benson that it’s hard to think of her as any other character.

These days, playing Olivia on SVU takes up most of her time, but that wasn’t always the case.

She got her start on the small screen in the 1984 film Ghoulies.

Later, she appeared in single episodes of several classic shows, including Baywatch, which is now slated to get a reboot.

The role of Olivia Benson seems most made for her, though. It fits her like a glove.

Sergeant Odafin “Fin” Tutola (Ice-T)

Another favorite returning character is Sergeant Fin Tutuola.

Fin hasn’t been there since the beginning, first appearing briefly on Law & Order: SVU Season 2 Episode 1: Wrong is Right before becoming a main character beginning on the following episode.

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Nevertheless, he has become a mainstay of the series ever since, and it has been fascinating watching him evolve over the years.

The great thing about FIn is that he never loses his street smarts and knows how to meet the perps on their level to get the most out of any investigation.

Now second in command, we have seen many of his layers peel back like an onion over the years, with hopefully many more to come.

Ice-T, or Tracy Marrow, is a well-respected actor now, but his road to success was rough.

He lost both of his parents at a young age and was also in a severe auto accident in the 1980s.

Additionally, he overcame troubles that included gang membership and criminal activity in his younger days.

He has changed his troublesome ways. Amid unfounded reports of a feud with fellow SVU alum Christopher Meloni in 2023, the actors quickly dispelled the rumors.

Today, it’s a joy to watch Ice-T bring his unique style and swagger to TV as Fin, a character he has become one with over nearly a quarter of a century.

Assistant District Attorney Dominick “Sonny” Carisi Jr. (Peter Scanavino)

Carisi came on the scene during season 16 and hasn’t disappointed.

The former detective was promoted to Assistant District Attorney based on his immense talent.

In his detective days, he impressed his co-workers with his interrogation skills.

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Although his wife, Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish), is no longer a regular character, seeing more of her in Season 26 would be nice.

Mariska Hargitay, in particular, has been lobbying hard to get Giddish back on SVU, so we’ll see what the season might hold for Carisi and Rollins if anything.

Peter Scanavino may not have been part of SVU since the beginning, but he is a fixture after ten seasons.

His long stint as Carisi on SVU isn’t his first Law & Order rodeo.

We first saw him pop up in the Law & Order Universe when he appeared on one episode each of Trial by Jury and one episode of Criminal Intent, both in 2005.

He played different characters in each before eventually playing Carisi for the first time on an episode of Law & Order.

Then he made the mark on SVU and later appeared a few times on Organized Crime.

When he isn’t playing our favorite ADA, Scanavino is a family man who spends much time with his wife, Lisha Bai, and his three children.

Detective Jose “Joe” Velasco (Octavio Pisano)

Velasco first appeared when he went undercover for McGrath on Law & Order Season 23 Episode 1: And the Empire Strikes Back until he had to reveal himself to the SVU team.

It wasn’t the last time he went undercover.

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In the three seasons we have had to get to know Velasco, much has been revealed about his character.

For example, his temper has gotten the better of him more than once.

He also hasn’t always been on the good side of his SVU partners, especially Fin. We’ll see how their relationship plays out during the new season.

Mexican-American Octavio Pisano brings a unique brand of experience to the role of Velasco.

He makes the character challenging but relatable.

No stranger to crime dramas, he appeared in the 2019 New York Undercover TV movie and the 2021 Paramount+ crime show Coyote.

Pisano has also appeared in several films in recent years, such as Presence (2022), Feral State (2020), and Ms. Purple (2019).

He seems to invest his time in his work and likes to keep his private life out of the public eye.

Who Else Might Return for Law & Order: SVU Season 26?

Those are the only four actors confirmed to be returning for Season 26.

Yet, we have to wonder if others may come back.

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Not only might Kelli Giddish return as Rollins, but possible appearances by other familiar faces are always potentially on the table.

From Stabler (Christopher Meloni) to Bruno (Kevin Kane), we can only hope some of our favorites return.

Comment below to let us know who you’d like to see make a comeback!

Jessica Kosinski is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.

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