Where Did Every Character Leave Off on 'Law & Order: SVU'?

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Mariska Hargitay in 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'

It's been a while, hasn't it? The strike delayed Law & Order: SVU's premiere from its usual late-September premiere date, but Captain Benson and the squad will finally return for a 25th season on Jan. 18. The longest-running live-action drama ever to air in primetime has been a revolving door of detectives, medics and district attorneys over the last quarter century.

One constant? Mariska Hargitay has played Olivia Benson since the first season and worked her way up the ranks, earning the squad room's largest office and captain role during the show's record-setting 21st season.

However, last year alone saw the exits of two detectives, including the much loved Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish)—although as it turned out, Rollins didn't leave the Law & Order orbit altogether (more on that below). Who else is in and out on SVU, and what happened to them during Season 24? Again, it's been a while, so let's reacquaint ourselves with Law & Order: SVU cast members.

Related: Everything to Know About 'Law & Order: SVU' Season 25

Who will be in the cast of 'Law and Order: SVU' Season 25 and where did the characters leave off?

Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson

<p>NBC/Getty Images</p>

NBC/Getty Images

The lone leading cast member from Season 1 of Law & Order: SVU, Mariska Hargitay is the face of Law & Order. While Benson climbed from detective to captain, Hargitay worked her way up to actress and executive producer. Her work on last season's "Man in the Moon" earned praise from Bradley Whitford, who guest starred in the episode.

Benson spent much of Season 24 trying to bring members of BX9 to justice for rather heinous crimes, including assault, rape and hate crimes. In Episode 10, members of the gang left her battered and bruised in front of her son, Noah, after she approached them for circling their apartment with a firearm.

Benson also dealt with shake-ups in the squad room, including the departure of longtime friend Rollins, whose absence she struggles with, and the introduction of new squad members who aren't exactly her cup of tea at first. Junior detectives Grace Muncy (Molly Burnett) and Joe Velasco (Octavio Pisano) went through some growing pains throughout the season.

During the two-week Season 24 crossover finale with Law & Order: Organized Crime, Benson was in yet another precarious situation. Just like old times, Benson and Elliott Stabler (Christopher Meloni) find themselves in trouble together. The leader of revenge-for-hire site Shadowerk (played by Michael Drayer) places a bounty on the one-time partners, and Benson winds up shot and in the hospital, where Stabler "thinks he lost her."

"I can't imagine what that brings up for you," Benson responds.

The Organized Crime squad did lose a member, Detective Jamie Whelan (Brent Antonello), who dies in the hospital after being fatally shot by Kyle. On the way to his funeral, Stabler stops by to let Benson know he'll be off the grid for a while. She's happy he at least told her this time (remember their decade-long hiatus from one another when Stabler retired and left for Europe without telling her? Yeah, we tried to forget, too). He has a gift with a string attached: He wants to know what's in the unopened box given to her by the McCanns, parents of Noah's half-brother. Since receiving it about six months prior as a holiday gift, Olivia still hasn't opened it. She counters by telling Stabler he can open and keep it. It was underwhelming: A live, laugh, love ornament.

Stabler's was a beauty: A diamond arrow necklace. Who—if anyone— should the necklace point Benson back to? Stay tuned, perhaps, Bensler fans.

Related: Christopher Meloni Shares His Thoughts on 'Bensler' and Stabler's Evolution

Ice-T as Odafin "Fin" Tutuola

<p>Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images</p>

Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

During a Season 24 often centered around the growing pains of a young squad, Fin takes a liking to Bruno, a more seasoned detective who won a massive settlement for his role as a whistleblower with Bronx SVU. The two work together to learn more about BX9 and assess open cases in the Bronx SVU unit. Fin advocates for Bruno joining Manhattan, telling Benson, "This guy's driven. He's on a mission. I was thinking. Now that Rollins is gone, we could use another body."

Bruno played a significant part in the big Fin arc, which happened in Episode 14, "Dutch Tears." The episode starts in celebratory fashion, with longtime co-worker Benson toasting to Fin for earning the Harlem Heart Award. But when Fin returns home (slightly intoxicated), an unwelcome guest is waiting with a gun. Fin doesn't remember him, but the man, Ivan "Dutch" Hernandez (Richard Cabral), clearly remembers Fin. Our squad's now second in command arrested him during the early days of his police career, and Hernandez's stint in prison was a nightmare that included being sexually assaulted. As Fin attempts to right the wrong with the help of Bruno and Benson, it opens the door for self-reflection. The episode ends sweetly, with Fin introducing Hernandez to his daughter.

Peter Scanavino as Dominick "Sonny" Carisi, Jr.

<p>Ralph Bavaro/NBC</p>

Ralph Bavaro/NBC

Much of the focus in Season 24 was on the personal life of detective-turned-Assistant District Attorney Dominick "Sonny" Carisi, Jr. His relationship with Rollins is finally out in the open, and he also helps her start her next chapter as a Fordham Professor...and wife. The two tie the knot in Episode 9, "And a Trauma in a Pear Tree." In the finale, fans learn that Rollins is pregnant with her third child and Carisi's first.

Octavio Pisano as Joe Velasco

<p>Scott Gries/NBC</p>

Scott Gries/NBC

Joe Velsaco's character arc developed in Season 24 when we learned that he witnessed a murder that remains open. Basically, Velsasco got forced into a cartel with a friend named Chilly, and his friend killed someone as part of the indoctrination. When Benson learns of this through Tonie Churlish (Jasmine Batchelor), Velsaco is in serious hot water. Benson behooves him to make it right by bringing the murderer to justice. Velasco may not have killed anyone, but Benson essentially tells him that his loyalties were out of whack.

Velasco finds his former friend and gets him to confess to the murder. He hands the tape to Benson, who stows it away. Chilly's fate is in flux, but Velasco is on his boss' good side for the rest of the season. Will he pick up where he left off in Season 25?

Jasmine Batchelor as Officer Toni Churlish

<p>Ralph Bavaro/NBC</p>

Ralph Bavaro/NBC

It's unclear whether Jasmine Batchelor is returning as go-getting officer Toni Churlish, but for now, let's assume she will. The eager detective often butt heads with fellow newbie Muncy in Season 24, and she alienated Velasco by giving Benson a recording of him making a vague confession about being an accessory to murder. The boss even talks with her at one point, advising her that "ambition is better when it's not blind."

Kevin Kane as Det. Terry Bruno

<p>Ralph Bavaro/NBC</p>

Ralph Bavaro/NBC

Det. Terry Bruno provided a steadying breath of fresh air amid all the drama between the younger detectives. Without much to prove and sitting on a whole lot of money courtesy of a settlement, the talented detective doesn't really need to work. He's doing it for the greater good (trying to keep the Bronx squad in line). Fin sticks with him, even urging Benson to bring him on full-time in Manhattan. Will he come on in Season 25? It's unclear, but he was an asset to the squad, helping to sort through BX9 cases and aiding Fin in a redemption arc with a convict who experienced a hellish prison stint.

Related: Mariska Hargitay, Wynonna Judd and More: Celebrities Turning 60 in 2024

What Happened to Grace Muncy?

<p>Zach Dilgard/NBC</p>

Zach Dilgard/NBC

Junior Detective Grace Muncy, played by Molly Burnett, will not return for Season 25, marking a third departure from Manhattan SVU in three years (Rollins and Vice Officer Katriona Tamin, played by Jamie Gray Hyder, being the other two). Benson frequently had bones to pick with Muncy, a transfer from the Bronx gang unit, for her 'Millennial' attitude and clothing. In the Season 24 finale, Muncy shares she's been offered a spot with the DEA task force and has decided to take it.

Related: Kelli Giddish Returning for 'Law & Order: SVU' Season 25 Premiere

Will Rollins Appear on Season 25 of Law & Order: SVU?

<p>Will Hart/NBC</p>

Will Hart/NBC

After showing up for the SVU/Organized Crime finale crossover event, Rollins will be back for the SVU Season 25 premiere. But mum's the word on how often she'll appear on the show after that.

In an interview with Variety, Giddish, who recently welcomed her third child in real life said, "I am so excited about things going on in my personal life and kind of the mirroring of what’s going on in my personal life and in Rollins’, there’s a lot of joy to be experienced."

Next, All About 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' Season 4