Law & Order Fan-Favorite Detective Quitting The Franchise

Kelli Giddish is leaving Law & Order, which makes sense considering the series has been on television for many years, and people must move on.

By Mark McKee | Published

law & order

Dick Wolf changed the television landscape by bringing to life the most successful franchises in history. Law & Order premiered in 1990 and kick-started a group of shows and spin-offs documenting the many facets of the New York City justice system. Nearly a decade later, the franchise got its first spin-off with Law & Order: SVU. Like its predecessor, SVU used real-life crimes as a model for the storylines in their episodes, using the phrase “ripped from the headlines” to describe their show. SVU became the longest-running Law & Order series, surpassing the original in 2019 and ordering three more seasons. Now that it is approaching its 24th season on the air, the cast has changed over the years. Mariska Hargitay is the longest-tenured cast member, having been involved since day one, others have come and gone, and another long-running cast member is moving on during Season 24. 

According to The Wrap, Kelli Giddish will leave Law & Order: Special Victims Unit during Season 24. Giddish has portrayed Detective Amanda Rollins since Season 13 in 2011. She has been through a lot in that time, from being shot, kidnapped, arrested for gambling, and framed by her sister. It was also revealed she left her home in Atlanta for New York after a superior officer raped her. She also had numerous romantic relationships with other characters, including Declan Murphy and Al Pollack, whom she had daughters with. She also found herself in a love triangle with Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) and Dominick Carisi, Jr. (Peter Scanavino). The latter of which got Rollins pregnant. 

Giddish addressed the rumors that had been swirling online that she would leave by confirming that she would, in fact, depart the show during Season 24. In an Instagram post, she called playing Rollins from her late twenties for 12 years one of the great privileges of her life. The changes and growth her character went through paralleled her own, according to Giddish. The actress also took the opportunity to thank her Law & Order family, paying particularly close attention to Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay, Peter Jankowski, NBC, and Universal Television. She thanked them all for their hard work and lessons learned over her time on the show, finally expressing her excitement for what was next. 

Of course, when a long-running character leaves a show, there will always be a healthy dose of fan backlash. With Giddish on the way out, fans called out creator Dick Wolf and even new showrunner David Graziano. The latter of the two addressed the backlash with his own comment on the post. He encouraged fans to stop and consider that situations are more complex than what can be seen in the world of emojis. He also commended Giddish for how she handled the departure and considered himself lucky to write for her again. While the actress didn’t say anything about bad blood surrounding her exit from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Graziano’s comment leaves some questions about the circumstances he calls “complex.” Just a month ago, gun violence took the life of a Law & Order: Organized Crime crew member. Something of that magnitude can cause ripples through a franchise, including cast members moving on.