For 24 seasons, “Law & Order: SVU” has been known for its heart-wrenching, ripped-from-headlines episodes and cliffhanger endings — and not so much for its romance. Though the will-they-won’t-they tension between Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliott Stabler (Christopher Meloni) has been a thing for years, a season 21 episode of the long-running NBC series, titled “At Midnight in Manhattan,” teased a scene that left some viewers rooting for another office relationship: Detective Amanda Rollins and ADA Dominick “Sonny” Carisi.
The moment in question involved Rollins making it very clear that she was upset over Carisi’s departure from the Special Victims Unit for a position at the District Attorney’s office. In that scene, the simmering tensions between the two was clear, with Rollins’s remarks insinuating that she had more than work-friend-adjacent feelings for her longtime pal. And “SVU” fans were correct to assume there was more to their relationship than just a work bond because, fast-forward three seasons, the fan-favorite couple is now married with a baby on the way! Boy does time fly.
The idea of Rollins and Carisi ending up together wasn’t a complete shock for some. Since Carisi joined SVU back in season 16, he and Rollins’s relationship has grown into something special. Carisi was previously named godfather to Rollins’s second child and he’s arguably the closest male figure to her young kids. Their chemistry was tested a number of times but they supported each other as platonic friends for what seemed like forever before finally getting together.
For those that may be behind on “SVU” (or somehow missed out on seeing Rollins and Carisi’s relationship develop between all the show’s action), read ahead for a timeline of their biggest relationship moments.
Season 16: Rollins and Carisi Meet
Rollins and Carisi first crossed paths after the latter joined the Special Victims Unit team in season 16, taking over as the male lead for Danny Pino’s Nick Amaro. The two quickly became friends on the force and eventually grew into something more as they spent time together outside of the police precinct. Between helping Rollins out with her two daughters and their one-and-one time, it’s no wonder these two eventually took things to the next level.
Season 22: Rollins and Carisi Kiss
The moment every TV fan anticipates for their favorite couple: Carisi and Rollins’s first kiss. The liplock took place in season 22’s finale during the almost-wedding of Ice-T’s Fin Tutuola and his fiancé. Though their nuptials didn’t happen in that episode, that didn’t stop Carisi and Rollins from finally confessing their feelings for one another. Moved by what would’ve been Carisi’s wedding speech, a teary-eyed Rollins makes the first move and kisses Carisi before the two go in for another.
Season 23: Rollins and Carisi Make Their Relationship
Following their explosive kiss, Rollins and Carisi secretly dated each other for nine months before the latter grew tired of lying about their relationship to their families and coworkers. The pair argue about the matter in episode 13 of season 23 but by the end of it, they make their romance official by disclosing their secret to Benson. The two then tell Rollins’s kids about each other and share their first “I love you” by the end of the season.
Season 24: Rollins and Carisi Get Married
Carisi and Rollins’s relationship ramped up quickly by the halfway mark of season 24 when they surprised their SVU team with an impromptu courthouse wedding. It also marked Rollins’s official exit from the show, as she announced to everyone that she accepted a full-time job at Fordham University to teach future fellow crime fighters, ending her 12-year tenure as a detective.
Season 24: Rollins and Carisi Announce They’re Expecting a Child
The latest exciting milestone in Rollins and Carisi’s relationship was first teased in season three of “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” Stabler’s spinoff series, when the latter discovered Rollins is pregnant in episode 21. Carisi then revealed the news in “SVU” during episode 21 of season 24, where Benson congratulated him on officially stepping into fatherhood. Rollins’s baby bump was revealed when she made a special appearance in episode 22.