Law & Order: SVU will lose two members of the show’s main cast during the season 23 premiere later this month and fans aren’t happy. And they’re going after the popular NBC program over the decision.
Deadline reported last week that Jamie Gray Hyder, who plays Officer Kat Tamin, and Demore Barnes, who portrays Deputy Chief Christian Garland, will leave Law & Order: SVU during the two-hour premiere on Sept. 23. Hyder, who joined the cast two seasons ago, confirmed the report a day later. She added the decision was “above (her) pay grade.”
The news stunned fans who went after the showrunners.
“The squad is short-staffed as it is and now Kat is leaving? She didn’t even get the chance to get promoted to detective, and they just got here,” one fan posted. “I certainly didn’t see it coming for these two. They seemed like they were having fun on and off camera. Such a shame.”
“Gutted by this!! Kat was one of my faves in recent years! Bad decision by my fave show,” someone responded to Hyder.
One thing fans honed in one was what both Barnes and Hyder represented. Barnes, a black man, was one of the lead prosecutors on the show. A first in the show’s history. Hyder’s character was the first bi-sexual officer in the storied franchise.
“I am so upset by this! I have been an SVU fan for the longest time, and I was so excited to have a Black man in charge of things,” one fan wrote to Barnes. “This role could’ve been expanded, and I think it will be a great loss for us all. Wishing you the best in your future endeavors.”
Many Law & Order: SVU fans said the decision was a big mistake.
‘Law & Order: SVU’ History Full of Turnover
While fans may not like the decision to remove Barnes and Hyder from the cast, the show has always embraced change.
Most famously, Law & Order: SVU producers retooled the show when Christopher Meloni left at the end of season 12. He returned last season in a guest spot but is starring in Law & Order: Organized Crime. Fans said his exit would kill the show, but it continued on, gaining viewers in Season 13.
Cast turnover is always an option at One Police Plaza. It’s so common by now that US Weekly did an article tracking all of the major departures that clocks in at more than 2,000 words. And the publication only remarked on 16 of the dozens of actors who’ve starred on the show and left.
In fact, the only consistent characters on Law & Order: SVU are Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson and Ice-T’s Fin Tutuola. Hargitay starred on the show since its inception and Ice-T joined in season 2. He was only supposed to appear in four episodes, but producers loved him in the role.
Anything can happen on Law & Order.