As with any character on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi Jr.’s life isn’t always a cakewalk. But for Peter Scanavino, the actor who portrays him, life sure is coming up roses — and Scanavino is super grateful for it.
Scanavino was born and raised in Colorado before moving to New York to pursue a career as an entertainer. He studied acting and carved out a name for himself in theater, according to NBC, but it wasn’t until his path crossed with Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight that he got his big TV breakthrough.
“Me, personally, I can’t say enough amazing things about [Leight] because he literally called me up and offered me this job when I was sitting on my couch wondering what I was going to do next. Now it’s totally changed my life and I’ll be forever grateful,” Scanavino said in a recent interview with E! News. “OK, I got a call to be a perp on the show in Season 14 and that was great, just to get a job offer out of nowhere. I was like, ‘OK, done SVU, now I’ve done ‘em all. So that’s it, it was great while it lasted, guess I can’t do that for a while.’ A year goes by and I get another call and he was like, ‘Do you want to come back on SVU?’ and I was like, ‘Do you remember that I was on this show last year?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, it’s fine. Do you want to do three episodes?’ I said sure and that was fantastic, and then it turned into more and then this.
“Now it’s a different world for me. It’s amazing,” Scanavino added.
Obviously, being on a huge show like SVU takes away from your anonymity a bit, but Scanavino says that his experiences with fans have been great — and he even gets positive feedback on his performance.
“What I have gotten a lot of is actual cops who would come up to me on the street, off duty, or guys that were on the job and they’d be like, ‘I was 20 years on the job and love you,'” he said. “I feel like that’s kind of a great compliment to get. I take a lot of pride to get that from some of the real deal.”
Sounds like Scanavino’s work has had a great effect on his fans, too!