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Danny Pino Hints At A Full-Time Return To Law & Order: SVU As Nick Amaro

Brace yourselves, "Law & Order" fans. Detective Nick Amaro and Olivia Benson are back together again for the 500th episode of "Special Victims Unit" — more than half a decade after the characters parted ways. Actors Danny Pino and Mariska Hargitay are slated to have a one-episode reunion on Thursday night, October 21, in remembrance of their four-year run together as partners. But recent comments from Pino hint at something big for his character.

Amaro served as Benson's new partner after the exit of Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler following 12 seasons. "Bensler" was long considered one of the most popular duos on television, so fans were initially hesitant to accept Amaro as Det. Stabler's replacement. But Pino's portrayal eventually won over the passionate "Law & Order" audience and led to Amaro becoming a fan favorite before Pino stepped away from the police procedural in 2015. So what's next for the long-departed cop? Judging by Pino's recent comments, the 500th episode of "SVU" may not be his last.

Pino feels back at home on the set of SVU

Speaking to E! News ahead of the "Law & Order: SVU" milestone episode, actor Danny Pino offered some hints about what to expect from Det. Amaro in the future, including whether he'd be up to return for good. 

"I think the show is in a really good place," Pino explained. "Its resonance and its impact is as sharp now as it ever was, and I don't want to dull that by commenting on whether Amaro would come back or not, because I respect this creative team and this incredible cast. Truly year after year, they're constantly challenging themselves and stepping up to the plate, and this crew that I love so much. So I generally don't answer those questions, but with coming back for this episode, I think that's the loudest answer that I can give."

Coming back to the set of "SVU" with co-star Mariska Hargitay by his side was very emotional for Pino, the actor said. "We all have those friendships where you might not see that person or you might not speak to that person sometimes for years, and the minute you see them, you just pick up right where you left off," Pino told E! News. "I think Amaro and Benson have that kind of a relationship. Then you add to the component that they give each other respectful space to grow and to be proud of one another...It's the same way as Mariska and I are as people now. To be able to have art imitate life is a profound place to meet these two characters."

The 500th episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" will air on Thursday night, October 20.