Law & Order fans were stunned to learn this week that longtime star Kelli Giddish will be leaving the show following the conclusion of the upcoming 24th season of Special Victims Unit.
Many viewers have since voiced their disappointment to see her leave the show. Giddish’s co-stars reportedly fought to keep her on the show, but the exact details behind the decision remain vague.
Former SVU showrunner Warren Leight spent years getting to know Detective Amanda Rollins and the actress behind the character. He posted his thoughts on Giddish after the announcement on his Instagram.
“Writing for Kelli Giddish was an unmitigated joy,” Leight said. “She has always had perfect pitch, from first read-through to final take. I thank her for defining Rollins. Godspeed, Kelli.”
Giddish responded in kind by reposting Leight’s tribute. She added, “I never took it lightly getting to be a character you created and wrote for year after year.”
Light’s replacement and current SVU showrunner David Graziano said Giddish’s exit is more complicated than people might think. But he also noted that Giddish is one of the most professional actors he’s ever had the chance to work with.
“You might take a moment to entertain the idea that things are more complex than they appear in a world of emojis and tweets,” Graziano said. “All I’ll say is Kelli has handled this with the most incredibly classy comportment. She is, without a doubt, one of the finest industry professionals I’ve come across in my 24 years of writing for television. I’m saddened by her looming exit. It’ll be my lucky day if I ever get to write for her again.”
Kelli Giddish Confirms Exit from SVU
Season 24 of SVU is set to kick off with a huge three-part crossover with the original Law & Order and relative newcomer Organized Crime. But the news took a back seat when hours later Giddish confirmed her exit from the show.
The actress released the following statement:
“I wanted to address the chatter I’ve seen online and let everyone know that this will, indeed, be my last season on Law & Order: SVU. Playing Rollins has been one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life. I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of the Law & Order family for the last 12 years. There is simply no other character on TV like Rollins. She’s grown and changed, and I have as well. I started on this show when I was in my late 20s. And I’m grateful I got to spend so many of my adult years with Rollins in my life.”
Giddish added: “I want to thank Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay, Peter Jankowski, NBC, Universal Television, all of my co-stars. Every single member on the crew and all the writers here for our incredible work together these last 12 years. I’m so excited to take all the things I have learned in my time on SVU and put them toward everything that’s next to come.”