Law & Order: SVU star Jamie Gray Hyder just opened up about leaving the show, and it doesn’t look like it was her decision. Hyder, who plays Kat, won’t be returning for season 23. She posted about the news, broken by Deadline, on Instagram.
Demore Barnes, who plays Deputy Chief Christian Garland on Law & Order: SVU, also won’t return. That’s a major shock to fans. The two were introduced as recurring characters in season 21 and then promoted to regulars by season 22.
“Kat’s out of the bag..” Hyder wrote in the caption. In a second image, she provided a brief statement on the matter.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I confirm Kat’s departure from the squad room. The decision was made above my paygrade, and wouldn’t have been my choice, but hey – That’s showbiz for ya,” she wrote. She also said thank you to those who saw themselves in Kat.
“To anyone who felt represented by Kat’s being or mission, please know that you will always have representation in me,” she continued. Kat is the first LGBTQ officer on the show and its second-ever LGBTQ main character.
“Thank you to the SVUniverse for welcoming me with open arms. It’s been an experience that I have grown from greatly, and will never forget.”
According to Deadline, the departure of the two actors will be revealed when Law & Order: SVU returns for the two-hour Season 23 premiere.
The ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Seaon 23 Premiere Will Test Benson’s Loyalties
Deadline also reports that the season 23 premiere will pick up almost right where we left off. Catalina Machado (Zabryna Guevara) was arrested for sex trafficking single mothers living in shelters. But now, Machado wants to turn on her superiors and give the squad the names of her higherups, including a congressman. The episode is titled And the Empire Strikes Back.
During the first hour, Benson’s loyalty to Chief Garland will be put to the test. Rollins and Carisi, meanwhile, work to keep their witnesses in line when a major congressman is named as their main suspect.
The second episode is titled Never Turn Your Back on Them. This one likely addresses Kat’s exit. Fin and Kat go searching for a missing witness, and Garland and Benson get pressured into finding a suspect.
This is the second year in Law & Order: SVU‘s three-year renewal, so fans know this isn’t the last season. The show will at least continue through next year. It also makes the show the longest-running primetime live-action series.
Whatever happens now, fans will have to move on without Kat and Garland. Those are two difficult characters to lose, but the show clearly has a plan in mind. You can catch the return of Law & Order: SVU on Thursday, September 23rd.