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Mariska Hargitay Speaks on ‘SVU’ Co-star’s Exit While Showrunner Is Accused of ‘Toxic’ Behavior

kelli giddish leaving is a mess

Since it was announced that Law and Order: SVU star Kelli Giddish was being forced off the show in this current 24th season of the drama, fans have been dreading the change, which finally happened in this Thursday’s episode.

Spoilers for Law and Order: SVU S24, E9

On Thursday, the character officially exited—something that had been built up narratively since the season premiere. It started with an impromptu marriage between Giddish’s character Amanda Rollins and long-time love interest Dominic “Sunny” Carisi. As expected, she announced towards the end of the episode that she was going to take a job as a professor at Fordham.

Mariska Hargitay, who has stayed silent on the specifics, but has been showing support for Kelli in her Instagrams stories posted the following one after the episode. “Kelli, I’ve loved acting, learning, growing, talking, laughing and crying with you. I’ve loved watching your achingly beautiful performances. I’ve loved watching our friendship deepen and grow and blossom. I’ve loved every single minute of it, and I will miss you so much. You have my respect, my gratitude and my love forever.”

Giddish also shared an image hugging Hargitay with the caption: “To everyone who supported Rollins – thank you.”

This change in the guard was paired in the news cycle with an L.A. Times article alleging the current showrunner, David Graziano, has created a toxic environment.

Haley Cameron, the former script coordinator, wrote on an industry listserv that: “The new showrunner, David Graziano, is a very unprofessional, ego-centric, and immature man. I have been in this industry a long time, and I have never experienced such pure, white-male misogyny. […] I urge you — especially women — to think twice before putting yourself in a position that could end as badly as mine did.”

Two more people, Amy Hartman and David James, who both worked as script coordinators under Graziano on the crime drama Coyote, shared information about him.

“Graz is super toxic and I’ve never run from a job so fast in my life as I did when I SC’ed for him. Stay away.” Hartman told the Times. “Every day I was in fight or flight.”

James said it was “easily the worst job I’ve had in Hollywood” and that, “I thought after this show, no one would give [Graziano] another show to run.”

In response to these allegations, Graziano’s spokesperson, Alafair Hall, told The Daily Beast, “The implication that Mr. Graziano created a hostile work environment, or is sexist, inappropriate and unprofessional is false. Please, thank you and excuse me are words seldom heard in writers’ rooms where the focus is murder.”

I mean, why? You aren’t committing the murders, you are crafting a show. It only speaks to the normalization that working in that industry means accepting rudeness for the sake of “art” when good communication would only serve to make things easier. Regardless, for a show about special victims, it has never had a female showrunner, and it took until season 21 for there to be more female writers on staff than men. Still only one Black woman.

This season has been very dull thus far and if anything, all that meanness has not translated to interesting or compelling episodes. Maybe it is worth reexamining if all of this is working or not.

(via TV Line, image: NBC)

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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.