Peter Scavanino, who plays Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr. on NBC‘s Law & Order: SVU, is married to artist Lisha Bai. Scavanino made his debut in the role in the 2014 episode “Girls Disappeared.”
Bai and Scanavino have two children. Here’s a look at their relationship and Bai’s career.
1. Bai Is a Yale Graduate & Studied Art in France
According to her website, she earned her BFA in Painting at Washington University in St. Louis. She then earned her MFA in Painting/Printmaking at Yale University.
She has also received numerous grans during her career. In 2004, she went to Giverny, France as a Terra Summer Residency Fellow.
Bai has been a visiting fine arts instructor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn since 2008 and an instructor on art and design there since 2005.
2. She Has Had Exhibitions Around the Country & Had an Exhibition in London This Year
Last year, she had the exhibition Painting in Trees at The People’s Garden in Brooklyn. Bai has also had her work on display in Minneapolis; St. Louis; North Adams, Massachusetts; and Philadelphia. Her work has also been on display at MoMA PS1.
3. Scanavino & Bai Welcomed Their Second Child in January 2016
There was a baby boom at the Law & Order: SVU set during last season. Actress Kelli Giddish and her husband, Lawrence Faulborn, welcomed their first child in October 2015 and Ice-T and Coco welcomed their daughter in November. In January, Bai and Scanavino welcomed their baby in January 2016.
Their new baby boy’s name is Leo, who is the couple’s second child. They have not revealed their first child’s name publicly.
4. Scanavino’s Brother David Is Also an Artist
Scanavino’s brother David Scanavino is also an artist based in New York City. He earned his BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001 and his MFA at Yale in 2003.
Like Scanavino’s wife, David has had several exhibitions around the county. In 2016, he has had two new York exhibitions – one at the Klaus von Nichtssagend gallery and another at The Armory show with von Nichtssagend.
In 2011, both Bai and David Scanavino had their work included in an exhibition called The Finishers at the Wassaic Art Project.
5. Being on ‘SVU’ Has Changed Scanavino’s Life, He Says
Scanavino was born in Colorado and chose to move to New York for his acting career. Like most New York actors, he found a role on a Law & Order show and appeared in every show of the franchise except for Law & Order: Los Angeles. He even had a small role in an SVU episode before he joined the show as a regular cast-member.
Scanavino told E! News that the show and former showrunner Warren Leight changed his life.
“Me, personally, I can’t say enough amazing things about [Leight] because he literally called me up and offered me this job when I was sitting on my couch wondering what I was going to do next. Now it’s totally changed my life and I’ll be forever grateful,” Scanavino recalled.
Scanavino said that he has also received praise from real police officers for his performance.
What I have gotten a lot of is actual cops who would come up to me on the street, off duty, or guys that were on the job and they’d be like, ‘I was 20 years on the job and love you.’ I feel like that’s kind of a great compliment to get. I take a lot of pride to get that from some of the real deal.