Law and Order SVU’s Jamie Gray Hyder previews Kat’s important episode

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- "Redemption In Her Corner" Episode 21013 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jamie Gray Hyder as Officer Katriona "Kat" Azar Tamin, Manni Perez as Esperanza Morales -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC)
LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- "Redemption In Her Corner" Episode 21013 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jamie Gray Hyder as Officer Katriona "Kat" Azar Tamin, Manni Perez as Esperanza Morales -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC) /

Tonight’s SVU is huge for Kat Azar Tamin, and Jamie Gray Hyder explains why it’s so important, as well as what it’s been like to join the SVU season 21 cast.

Law & Order: SVU is shining the spotlight on Katriona “Kat” Azar Tamin this week, and fans of the Dick Wolf series will be surprised by what they see.

Thursday’s “Redemption in Her Corner” begins with Kat suspecting there’s something nefarious going on at her gym, and spirals into something unexpected. Actress Jamie Gray Hayder connected with One Chicago Center to talk about why you won’t want to miss the episode, and what it was like to discover more about who Kat is.

Learn more about tonight’s episode in our interview with Jamie Gray Hyder below, and then make sure you tune in for the full hour tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

You can also get an additional sneak peek by checking out our exclusive clip here!

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One Chicago Center: This is a very intense Special Victims Unit episode, and you’re in almost every scene. What was the experience like for you, and did you prepare any differently?

Jamie Gray Hyder: As somebody’s who’s new to the cast, I try to approach every scene and every episode with a good amount of reverence, but especially in this case. I really had to have my story straight. It’s a huge opportunity for me to show my ability to carry an episode. I took that very seriously.

OCC: Is there a moment you’re particularly excited for the SVU fans to see?

JGH: One of my favorite moments was getting to be physical in the opening teaser of the episode. I love boxing and Muay Thai and I train a few times a week, so to get to incorporate that into the episode was really exciting for me. I think it was amazing in general to really give people a glimpse into a little bit of Kat’s outside of work life.

OCC: We see in the teaser for this episode that Kat steps over the professional line during this case. Especially since her instincts are often right, do you think that she’ll eventually pull back or will she always push the limits a little bit?

JGH: I think you’ll see her settle in a little bit. I don’t know that she’s ever going to sit and wait to be told what to do. I think what makes her good at her job is that she follows her instincts. Despite often going off the grid, like you said, she’s not often wrong. It’s typically her approach that needs a little bit of finagling, a little bit of finessing if you will.

But I think she’s always motivated by the right thing. I think as we go maybe she’ll get better at catching herself and not always require somebody else to have to tell her to take a step back.

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT — “Redemption In Her Corner” Episode 21013 — Pictured: (l-r) Jamie Gray Hyder as Officer Katriona “Kat” Azar Tamin, Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) /

OCC: Before you joined SVU, you had guest-starred on other crime dramas like Graceland and NCIS. Did any of those experiences help you when stepping into the Special Victims Unit role?

JGH: Absolutely. You get a feel for the way these types of shows work. While each one is individual, there are certain points that I believe they all like to fit. I was often on the other side of things. I’d been a guest star on Rizzoli & Isles where I’m the one on the other side of the interrogation table as a criminal, and kind of getting to experience that side of things really informed me as to what it would be like to be the one asking the questions.

OCC: So now that you are playing a detective, and on TV’s longest-running crime drama at that, what’s the biggest thing you’ve learned so far in SVU season 21?

JGH: I think it’s not only playing a cop, but it’s about honoring the type of work that the actual Special Victims Unit is doing. It requires a different approach when you’re dealing with survivors of sexual assault. There’s a different way that you conduct your investigation and you really have to learn about the empathetic approach, that comforting approach, especially when you’re dealing with young people.

When we’re dealing with young children on the show, things like that, all of that requires a different approach and learning how it changes, depending on who you’re talking to, was very informative for me.

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OCC: We learn so much more about Kat by the end of this episode. What’s one thing about her that you’d still like to know?

JGH: One thing that I’ve talked about with the producers a little bit is we’re going to figure out what direction her love life might take. She briefly touches on her family history; we heard that last episode when she talked about her family dealing with the civil wars in Lebanon and I personally, Jamie, am also Lebanese so there’s a tie to my heritage there. But I think that both myself and the fans are itching to learn a little bit more about what makes her tick. I think maybe exploring her personal life, her romantic life, would give us a dose of that.

For those looking to learn more about Kat as the season progresses, I think we’re going to give them that so they can look forward to learning, bit by bit, a little bit more about her.

OCC: What other role would Jamie Gray Hyder recommend to Law & Order: SVU fans who want to learn more about your work?

JGH: If they’re enjoying Kat, I think that there’s a lot of my character, Lieutenant Salter, from [the video game] Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in her. She’s very mission-driven and doesn’t always go about it in the most graceful way. I think that’s something that [Kat] and Lieutenant Salter have in common, especially being women in an often male-dominated world. I think that we do our best to stand out.

Now in the squad room I’m one of three very strong women. In Call of Duty I was sort of the woman leading the charge on my own. I think both of those characters still require the same amount of independence and stubbornness and head strong drive. I think that people would find that familiar in my character in Call of Duty.

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For the latest SVU season 21 spoilers and news, plus more about all of Dick Wolf’s other series, follow the Dick Wolf category at One Chicago Center.