Law and Order

Detective Jose "Joe" Velasco is a detective with the Special Victims Unit. He was assigned to the squad following the retirement of Katriona Tamin.


Velasco is from the Anapra neighborhood in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. (SVU: "Once Upon A Time In El Barrio") As mentioned by himself, he grew up with a very abusive father who would often beat him with a belt. When his father died Joe took his belt while the rest of the family were interested in his money. Joe took the belt to remind himself of who he really is and how he has to overcome everything. (SVU: "Never Turn Your Back On Them")

Velasco later became a delinquent who ran with the bad crowd. At one point, Velasco was used by the gang to be bait for a pedophile who they sought to punish. Velasco reluctantly did so and led the man to a secluded spot, where he was ambushed by the gang and he watched in horror as the man was beaten to an inch of his life. Velasco made a promise to only do good, should the man survive and after he did, he acted on the promise and never told the story to anyone. He joins the NYPD and eventually meets his future superior Tommy McGrath.

With Special Victims Unit

Velasco is placed as an undercover influencer with the nickname Q by McGrath and a very limited amount of people knowing. He is then seen trying to work Congressman Justin Howard and then has to reveal to SVU that he was working in secret. (SVU: "And The Empire Strikes Back")

While working as the undercover, he gave his contact info a possible victim of Howard's, Jenna Evans, and her mother, Laura. This gave the squad the ability to find Jenna when she ran away from home and also allowed them to recover DNA from a dress her mother had saved. (SVU: "Never Turn Your Back On Them")

Velasco is reassigned to SVU by McGrath to fill the void left by the departing Tamin. He helps investigate a case involving a single mother, Crystal Nunez, and another rape of a Deputy Inspector's daughter, Peggy Grogan. Eventually SVU found the connection between Nunez and his second victim; they were both regulars at an ice cream truck. They find the vendor, Travis Hillsdale, continuing his job and looking at a new potential victim. SVU tells him that they want him to answer more questions. Travis seemingly agreed to come in but immediately dashed out of the truck with a gun in hand. Hillsdale entered a standoff with Detectives Amanda Rollins and Odafin Tutuola. With him distracted by them, Velasco who remained unseen tackled the perp and almost strangled him for what he did to the victims until he is told to stop. He later apologized to Tutuola for his behavior, who angrily told him it better not happen again. (SVU: "One More Tale Of Two Victims")

When SVU was tasked in finding a missing woman, Velasco was partnered with Rollins investigating an abandoned building said to be haunted. To his great horror, they find several mummified bodies as well as the latest victims who happen to be the missing girls. He confided in Benson about how he found it sickening and she told him that he was not the only one. During this case, he is on better terms with his new colleagues, and they found the culprit. (SVU: "They'd Already Disappeared")

When a young boy was kidnapped by a predator, Velasco applauded the boy's uncle for attacking the predator only to discover there was more to the case. (SVU: "Burning With Rage Forever")

He is revealed to use dating apps and one of his dates was revealed to be raped, causing his squad to investigate the case. (SVU: "Sorry If It Got Weird For You")

Velasco was heavily involved in a case when girls from his hometown ended up in a sex trafficking ring after he was told by the pastor of his former church. He unintentionally got arrested by a U.C only to have his squad help get him out of trouble. However, Velasco was relieved when the two squads worked together and exposed a crooked cop as being one of the enforcers. Going undercover, he was able to bust the leader Jorge Padilla and rescue the trafficked girls. He later notifies the pastor of his former church to let him know and the latter was relieved.(SVU: "Once Upon A Time In El Barrio")

In one case, he found it hard to believe a priest could actually rape several women, only for his colleagues to tell him predators were in every form. During the investigation, the theory proved more real when it turns out one priest was sending flowers to rape victims and that a series of rapes occurred before he was transferred. He was later disgusted to hear the Priest admitting to the rapes while on tape, before arresting him.(SVU: "Confess Your Sins To Be Free")

During a joint case with the Organized Crime Control Bureau, Velasco helped his captain's former partner in locating a missing girl.(OC: "Lost One")