kelli giddish leaving is a mess

Kelli Giddish Leaving ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’—Why?

The news came last week that long-time Law and Order: Special Victims Unit actress Kelli Giddish will leave the show after its upcoming 24th season—but not by her choice.

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Giddish joined the series after Christopher Meloni left at the end of the 12th season (he has recently returned and got a spinoff series—Organized Crime) and has since been, at times, the only other female detective in the room alongside Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson. Her character, Amanda Rollins, has been rough at times, and there have been moments when I’ve wondered how she, of all people, was working in the Special Victims department. Despite all of that, she has been a core part of the rotating cast and had been, until now, the longest-lasting member after Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson and Ice-T’s Odafin Tutuola.

The actress confirmed talk of her exit in a statement on her Instagram:

“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.

I want to thank Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay, Warren Leight, 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…. #SVU”

Variety has reported that, according to their multiple sources, the call to remove Giddish was “made from above” because the company is “always looking to keep the show as up to date and current as possible.” They also say that Mariska Hargitay and “least one other producer” tried to keep Giddish, but “the decision had already been made.” A compromise couldn’t be made about “salary negotiations and her future on the show.”

Now, as someone who has just recently gotten done rewatching all 23 seasons of Law and Order: SVU for … reasons, the show is always in constant need of being updated. In a post-George Floyd world, all cop shows have needed to evolve. But that evolution includes adding more female detectives, not less. The series got rid of Kat Tamin, played by Jamie Gray Hyder, in the last season for no reason, despite her being one of the most modern detectives, being young, a woman of color, and bisexual. She was the third full-time female detective we’ve gotten. In the 23 seasons of this show, there have only ever been, at max, two female detectives working in SVU at one time. They have only ever had two full-time women of color, and both of them left suddenly. It is embarrassing.

Giddish helped anchor the series when it lost one of the biggest stars. She has played a devil’s advocate character and has been part of a (just recently canon) pairing between herself and Peter Scanavino’s Dominick “Sonny” Carisi Jr. We’ve seen her character become fully part of the SVU family in the same way Meloni’s Stabler was. You can add more characters to “modernize” the show without getting rid of her. After all, she is younger than the two other longest-serving actors on the show!

To get rid of her will be, and should be treated as, a huge upset to the group dynamic. Giddish is a great actress, and I hope she bounces back on a new show that will respect what she has brought to screen for over a decade.

(via Yahoo, image: NBC)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.