Actor Danny Pino is taking a walk down memory lane to share kind words about his former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit co-star, Mariska Hargitay, according to a report from Pop Culture.
Pino played NYPD detective Nick Amaro on the long-running NBC series from 2011 to 2015, before stepping away at the end of the show’s 16th season, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Despite his exit, Pino said he stays in touch with many of his former cast members and will always be grateful to be a part of the show. The actor went on to share his thoughts on Hargitay, who has played the role of Detective Olivia Benson since the show’s inception. On the drama series, Benson worked her way up the ranks, and now holds the rank of Captain and is the commanding officer of the entire unit.
Pino praised Hargitay for her work on and off-screen, including the work she does with her Joyful Heart Foundation, which was created to offer support to survivors of assault and abuse.
“Her generosity, she’s so grounded. She’s incredibly talented, and obviously dedicated, not only to Olivia Benson but to her foundation. And bringing healing to survivors,” Pino told PEOPLE Now.
Pino also commented on the show’s milestone of making it to Season 21, which officially makes it the longest-running drama series in television history.
“I think I sent out a few tweets to celebrate that they’re legal now. 21, that’s amazing. What an achievement and to be a very small part of that legacy, you know, it’s an honor for me.”
As for Hargitay, the actress also shared her excitement surrounding Season 21, according to a report from PEOPLE.
The actress said after the departure of long-time partner Detective Elliot Stabler, played by Christopher Meloni, she struggled with whether or not she wanted to continue the series. Hargitay said after much reflecting and “a lot of soul-searching” she was almost completely content with stepping away from the Dick Wolf-created series. However, the actress found a new burst of inspiration after taking advantage of the opportunity to spend more time behind the camera in the roles of director and producer.
“I feel so newly challenged and inspired and excited, which just surprises me,” she explained. “I can’t believe how much I care now.”
When she isn’t filming SVU or working with her foundation, the actress stays plenty busy with other projects, including a documentary called Emanuel, which focuses on the massacre that took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Hargitay also said she has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Thursdays on NBC.