‘Law & Order: SVU’: A Complete Look at Murphy’s And Rollins’ Complicated History

by Allison Hambrick
Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Law & Order: SVU doesn’t often give its detectives time for a private life, but when it does, things often end in heartbreak.

A prime example of this is the back and forth shared by Detective Elliot Stabler and his wife Kathy. After his career took its toll on their marriage, Stabler and his wife nearly divorced, only getting back together when Kathy discovered another pregnancy. Even so, Kathy met an untimely demise in a season 22 episode of SVU.

However, Stabler isn’t the only SVU detective with baggage. And no, John Munch and his ex-wives are not the topic of discussion. Detective Amanda Rollins, played by Kelli Giddish, has had a number of love interests during her time on the show. Perhaps the most memorable was Lt. Declan Murphy, played by Donal Logue.

Because the character recently returned to SVU, audiences everywhere question what this means for Rollins. After all, the two have a long history. Rollins and Murphy first meet in season 15, episode 17. Called “Gambler’s Fallacy,” the episode focuses on Rollins’s gambling addiction, which lands her in the middle of an undercover investigation. Murphy had been acting as “Declan O’Rourke,” a criminal gambling boss, and so he holds Rollins at gunpoint as part of the ruse.

Later in the episode, it is revealed that Murphy told Rollins the truth. Throughout the episode, she was deputized to act as part of the investigation, so unscrupulous things she does to help are legal. This drives a wedge between Rollins and Captain Olivia Benson, but it also forges a relationship between her and Murphy.

Law & Order: SVU: Murphy Fathers Rollins’s Daughter

As a result, the two begin a largely offscreen relationship. Murphy’s job often leads him to take on undercover assignments. This brings him to blows with another SVU detective: Dominick Carisi. Both Carisi and Murphy undertake undercover assignments in the episode “Undercover Mother.” Murphy is part of a long-term investigation of a sex trafficking ring that Carisi’s involvement jeopardizes. While little came of this rivalry at the time, it is possible that Carisi and Murphy’s contention will crop back up since Carisi is with Rollins.

Murphy doesn’t crop up again until season 17, which features a very pregnant Rollins. In the episode “Community Policing,” Murphy returns to New York from an undercover assignment when he hears of the detective’s pregnancy. Doing the math, he realizes the baby is his. Rollins makes no effort to hide this, but she refuses his offer to co-parent the child. He gives her his undercover phone number and walks out of her life forever.

Or so audiences thought. In the recent episode “Silent Night, Hateful Night,” Murphy returned to SVU. Though she is now with Carisi, the series teased that Murphy wants Rollins back. The lieutenant went as far as to say “for me to leave like that, that was the biggest mistake of my life.”

What the next chapter has in store for Rollins remains to be seen, but Murphy’s arrival will likely throw a wrench into her life.