Kelli Giddish discusses her exit from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Kelli Giddish
Kelli Giddish leaving Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for the latest episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. 

Kelli Giddish is opening up at last on her Law & Order: Special Victims Unit exit.

After wrapping up her 12-season run as Detective Amanda Rollins, Giddish has spoken on how it feels to leave a role she’s played for so long. 

That included tidbits from the final episode and Rollins’ farewell to the team and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay).

While Giddish didn’t touch on the controversy surrounding her exit, she did seem emotional about leaving behind a role that’s become part of her life. 

This caps off an excellent farewell to the character as Giddish moves on just as Rollins has to a new life. 

Season 24 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit focused on Amanda Rollins making some big life changes.

How Rollins bid farewell on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

It began with Rollins being shot protecting a witness. She recovered physically, but the emotional and mental scars weighed on her for a while

Rollins finally got back on track with a good lecture at a college. That had her offered a job as a professor.

In this week’s episode, the SVU squad was surprised by Rollins and Carisi (Peter Scanavino) impulsively tying the knot in a courtroom wedding.

Rollins then aided Benson in a case arresting a man spying on women in a motel. The pair shared some wine with Rollins revealing the job offer.

At first upset, Benson accepted this, and the squad sent Rollins off with an emotional farewell.

Speaking to Variety, Giddish discussed how it felt letting go of the role and her last day on set. 

“There is a finality to it that wasn’t there yesterday, so it feels different than it did before I saw it, which I wasn’t expecting! I kind of said my goodbyes on set. I had that closure, I thought. But last night, just so see how many people were watching and all the kind words I got about Rollins and the show, it was really something special.”

The actress reflected on how it felt to play this role for so long.

“Shows don’t last 12 years, much less getting to play a character. With playing someone as multifaceted as Rollins, I got to play all kinds of different things — down and out, on top, joyful, doubtful, scared, triumphant. I got to do the gambit.”

Giddish was happy posting a message to her Instagram page showing a photo of herself with Mariska Hargitay. 

The caption read, “To all those who have supported Rollins, THANK YOU.”

Why did Giddish leave?

There had been rumors that Giddish didn’t want to leave the series, but a decision was made by someone higher up in Dick Wolf Entertainment. 

Giddish didn’t touch on that but stated she knew Rollins would be written out before the season started and focused on making it work. 

“My side of things is just that it’s time in the Rollins storyline. I felt like where it was heading, and where it headed last night, just seemed the right place to leave it right now. I am so excited about things going on in my personal life and kind of the mirroring of what’s going on in my personal life and in Rollins’, there’s a lot of joy to be experienced.”

Giddish praised Hargitay for her work in the final scene between Rollins and Benson, citing their connection and “it was a really fun experience.”

As for a return to the character, Giddish pointed out that Rollins is still working in New York and married to Carisi so it’s possible she may pop in sometime in the future. 

“The door is un-shut. The world that Dick Wolf has created with all these shows now — I mean, the crossovers that happen, the people that come back…Dick Wolf has got such a fertile universe that’s going on, that people can pop up in different places. That’s really a cool thing that he’s created.”

Giddish was asked about the allegations of misbehavior by current Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner David Graziano. She merely said she was “alarmed to read the story” and had only good experiences on the series. 

As Giddish finishes her run on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, fans will miss Rollins, but at least the actress appears willing to return down the road.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24 returns Thursday January 5 at 9/8c on NBC.

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