Pino comes of age in SVU hit

Pino was still at univer­sity when the show made its de­but, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

WHEN Law & Or­der: Spe­cial Vic­tims Unit was first shown on tele­vi­sion one of its stars had not even grad­u­ated from act­ing school.

Danny Pino, who plays De­tec­tive Nick Amaro, was still study­ing at New York Univer­sity in 1999 when Law & Or­der: SVU be­gan.

Now in its 14th sea­son, the US po­lice pro­ce­dural crime drama, which is shown on Chan­nel 10 in Aus­tralia, is about to cel­e­brate its 300th episode.

The mile­stone episode, Man­hat­tan Vigil, was seen in the US yes­ter­day and lands on Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 1.

Paget Brew­ster ( Crim­i­nal Minds) and Adam Bald­win ( Fire­fly, Chuck) make ap­pear­ances in the mile­stone show, as do Peter Ja­cob­son ( House) and Brooke Smith ( Grey’s Anatomy), who reprise their roles as match-mak­ing king­pins.

Since join­ing the se­ries in 2011, Pino has ap­peared in more than two dozen episodes as Amaro, an NYPD de­tec­tive who trans­ferred to SVU from War­rants and Nar­cotics.

He may be a new­comer to the es­tab­lished se­ries but Pino says it didn’t take him long to set­tle in.

‘‘I found this ex­pe­ri­ence to be in­cred­i­bly wel­com­ing and en­cour­ag­ing with the cast, crew and the writ­ers. They were very hos­pitable,’’ Pino says.

He was aware, too, that in­tro­duc­ing a new char­ac­ter on a long-run­ning tele­vi­sion show is not with­out its risks.

Fans must grav­i­tate to the new­comer and there needs to be a seam­less blend within the show so as not to up­set the bal­ance and chem­istry of the char­ac­ters.

Pino says he had long dis­cus­sions with writer and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer War­ren Leight, who also worked on other Law & Or­der: Crim­i­nal In­tent, about how best to play Amaro.

‘‘That (the char­ac­ter) re­lied heav­ily on mine and War­ren’s shoul­ders,’’ Pino says.

‘‘War­ren and I spoke heav­ily about what he wanted to po­ten­tially see in Nick and what I hoped to ex­plore and we found a happy medium . . . and we continue to cul­ti­vate that.’’

Thursdays, 8.30pm, Ten, Ten SC; daily, var­i­ous times TV1.

Danny Pino and Mariska Har­gi­tay.

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