‘Law & Order: SVU’ Fans Ponder Whether They’ll Watch Show Without Kelli Giddish

by Suzanne Halliburton

You’ll have to forgive Law & Order: SVU fans for feeling anxious. How do you react when your favorite show dumps a favorite character?

Kelli Giddish, who has portrayed Amanda Rollins on SVU since 2011, announced Wednesday she was leaving the show sometime during season 24. Then news broke that leaving wasn’t Giddish’s idea. An executive made the call, against the wishes of Mariska Hargitay and new showrunner David Graziano, to shake up the cast.

It’s a whole topic, with a poll, on the Law & Order: SVU SubReddit. A user posted “with Kelli Giddish leaving SVU will you continue to watch? I really didn’t realize how many people really loved her character until now. I love her, so it’s gonna be hard for me to watch it even though obviously Mariska Hargitay is the heart and soul of SVU. But my favorite character is leaving, so I’m sad.”

So far, 1,100 people have voted on a poll that asks these questions: Will you watch because you don’t care about Amanda Rollins? Will you watch, but feel very sad doing so? Or, are you dun, dun? So far, nearly 60 percent of respondents don’t plan on dumping the show, but they’ll be viewing season 24 with a sad heart.

Giddish didn’t say when she’s leaving the series. Several news outlets said the departure would come sometime this fall. Rollins and Carisi (Peter Scanavino) had just gone public with their relationship in season 23. So fans had a ton invested in Rollins. As a couple, they’re known as “Rollisi” on social media. And if you have a hashtag nickname, it’s because people care.

One Law & Order: SVU fan speculated on several Rollins options: “Like does she get transferred to another station, like another SVU station in New York or a completely different area? Or does she move back to Georgia? They aren’t killing her off … Are they going to have them (Rollins-Carisi) have a relationship off screen? And then break up off screen, too, cause eventually someone will come around and they’ll want to see Carisi in a relationship. And I mean SEE not hear about what’s happening to them off screen.”

Julie Martin, a producer and writer on Law & Order: SVU, promised fans that “#Rollisi will have a happy ending. Stay tuned.”

Another fan wrote: “I kept watching after Stabler left, and that was a huge loss to the show at the time. I kept watching after Cragen and Munch left. I’ll keep watching after Rollins leaves. That’s just the nature of a show that’s been on 20+ years. Characters will be introduced, you’ll come to love them, and eventually they leave. Take it from a Doctor Who fan. It can be a tough adjustment, but you get used to it in time.”

Law & Order: SVU isn’t immune to big cast changes. Christopher Meloni played Elliot Stabler for the show’s first 12 seasons. But he and NBC parted ways after the network refused his contract demands. Meloni and NBC then reunited in 2021 for Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Of course, it appears that Law & Order: SVU already has a replacement for Giddish. Last month, TV Line reported the show added Molly Burnett, a former soap opera star, to portray a detective named Grace Muncy. She had experience in dealing with gangs, but that’s about all we know about the character. TV Line said the character is “smart, blunt and attractive.” So in a way, that makes her a younger version of Rollins.