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Law & Order: SVU's Octavio Pisano Loves Shooting In NYC (Despite The Challenges)

In "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," detectives and assistant district attorneys come and go, much to the disappointment of fans. Change is hard, especially for an "SVU" die-hard scorned, and there are plenty of characters that "SVU" fans wish would return.

No one is more attuned to the intense fandom than newcomer Octavio Pisano, who plays the long-running series' newest detective, Joe Velasco. "The true fans have been fans from the beginning, right? So when somebody new comes in, they're always put off and it's like, 'Well, who is this guy? Let's make sure that he fits,'" the actor told The Nerds of Color podcast. "So it took them a while to kind of embrace me, but ... I hope now that they have."

Another learning curve for "SVU" cast members is getting accustomed to shooting on the streets of New York City. Indeed, stumbling upon a "Law & Order" shoot is a rite of passage for any New Yorker, tantamount to eating your first dollar slice or dodging your first rat. For Pisano, that learning curve was especially steep.

Pisano had never been to New York before joining SVU

"There's no dull moment in New York," Pisano said on The Nerds of Color podcast. Like his character, Detective Joe Velasco, Pisano was raised in Mexico. Unlike Velasco, however, who had developed into a seasoned New Yorker, Pisano had never been to the city before he joined the cast of "Law & Order: SVU."

"I've never been to New York before this show. So for me, I'm getting to know the city as I'm shooting the show," Pisano said. For Pisano, pretending to be a hardened New Yorker was just another acting challenge to overcome on "SVU." "The character's been here for a long time so it's kind of a little bit of a mental rollercoaster."

"Law & Order" has long been a lifeline for New York-based actors, making Pisano a bit of an outlier. According to Sam Waterston, there's been an enduring symbiosis between theater actors and "Law & Order." Having a steady supply of "Law & Order" gigs, he explained to NPR, "was one of the things that made it possible for actors to continue to pursue the theater in New York." Furthermore, he believes "Law & Order" started the New York-based show trend, and indeed, series like "Blue Bloods" have followed in the footsteps of "Law & Order" — even if it's challenging for rookie actors.