‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Officially Saying Goodbye to Show, Confirms Exit in Emotional Video

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

One of the two major cast members who will leave Law & Order: SVU later this month explained why he is leaving the popular NBC show. Demore Barnes, who plays Deputy Chief Christian Garland, said it’s every actor’s dream to appear in at least one episode of SVU and he knows he “did it with style.”

Deadline reported that Law & Order: SVU would write off Barnes and Jamie Gray Hyder, who plays Officer Kat Tamin, during the two-hour season 23 premiere on September 23. Hyder confirmed the news in an Instagram post, and she added that the decision was made “above (her) paygrade” and “wouldn’t have been (her) choice.”

Both Hyder and Barnes joined the show in Season 21.

Barnes, though, has remained quiet since the September 3 report. He shared the Deadline story without comment. But now, in an emotional direct-to-camera Instagram post late Thursday, Barnes explained how much the show meant to him and how much he loved working on it.

He said took his time on what to say to ensure he would “bring (his) level best in the statement” to do the cast and crew of Law & Order: SVU justice. But, he added, he wasn’t privy to all of the behind-the-scenes discussions on the decision.

Demore Barnes: I Did ‘Law & Order: SVU’ With Style

Barnes said he was leaving SVU with his head up. He was proud of the show and loved his time working with the cast and crew.

“What I know is that it is almost every actor’s desired right of passage to appear on one episode of SVU, and yet here I am,” he said. “I’ve not only gone on to do more than one episode, but I know I’ve done it with style. I also know, now on the other side of our having made it through this past season of filming in the minefield of COVID with fear and without fallen colleagues, that I am honored and proud to have helped this storied franchise bridge its most difficult year in its record-breaking run, and that the show did it with style.”

One of the knocks against the move of cutting Barnes and Hyder was what they represented. Barnes for the first black man to portray an NYPD deputy chief on the show. Officer Kat Tamin was bisexual, was the first LGBTQ character on the show since B.D. Wong, who played FBI agent George Huang, left the show in Season 12.

“I am also so very proud to have portrayed the first black deputy chief in SVU history,” Barnes continued. “I also know I love and respect my castmates. Ice, Pete, Kelli, Jamie, and Mariska, and grateful they love and respect me back. The SVU crew, I’m grateful for you and for your skilled, humble, and steadfast way you led our show from behind and helped the cast and myself shine. …”