Was Kelli Giddish forced to leave Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?

Kelli Giddish
Kelli Giddish leaving as Amanda Rollins on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Pic credit: NBC

Kelli Giddish’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit exit may not have been her choice after all.

Just days after the actress’ stunning announcement she was leaving the series, a Variety report indicates the decision to write out Amanda Rollins was actually made by higher-ups within NBC.

Giddish leaving the series after 12 seasons was a surprise with little to indicate she wanted to leave the role she clearly enjoyed.

According to the report, the issues involved salary disputes and a decision to “freshen up” the series. 

Mariska Hargitay reportedly fought to keep Giddish on alongside at least one producer, but the decision was out of the hands of both her and new showrunner David Graziano.

It throws new light on the sudden departure as it now appears writing out Rollins was not the actress’ choice but forced on her. 

While neither Giddish nor Dick Wolf Entertainment have discussed the reports, former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner Warren Leight shared his thoughts on the actress’ departure. 

The story is unfolding, but it sheds some new light on the stunning sudden exit of the actress.

Kelli Giddish and her controversial Law & Order: Special Victims Unit exit

On Wednesday, fans of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit were rocked by the news Kelli Giddish would be leaving the series after 12 seasons as Detective Amanda Rollins. 

Giddish broke the news on her Instagram page with a statement thanking NBC and the producers and making it sound as if this had been her decision to leave the show.

However, a report from Variety has now indicated that Giddish didn’t want to leave the series, but rather it was forced on her by producers. 

According to Variety’s sources who work on the show, the issue came down to a dispute on Giddish’s salary as well as the producers trying to keep the series “current.”

Variety’s sources made it clear that Mariska Hargitay, who is a producer as well as playing Olivia Benson, did fight to keep Giddish on board along with another producer. 

The decision also appeared to have not been made by new showrunner David Graziano. The writer had posted a reply to Giddish’s Instagram story, telling viewers the situation was “more complex” than it seemed. 

The Variety report mentions the decision “made by higher-ups” but does not clarify if that means Dick Wolf himself or some NBC network executives.

Last season, fans were surprised at the sudden departure of Jamie Gray Hyder (Kat Tamin) and Demore Barnes (Christian Garland). Both actors made it clear leaving the series was not their decision but written out by the showrunners. 

Thus the idea that Giddish was likely pushed out of the series seems easier to accept for some fans.

Warren Leight chimes in on Giddish’s exit

As of yet, neither Giddish nor anyone for Dick Wolf Entertainment has discussed the report or further details of her exit.

But former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner Warren Leight has shared his own thoughts on the character that he helped create back in Season 13. 

In an Instagram and Twitter post, Leight shared a fan poster for the Season 16 episode Forgiving Rollins that put a big focus on the character’s past as an Atlanta cop. 

It was accompanied by how proud he was to have written for her. 

“This poster, by SVUwnyxER has been framed and on the wall of my office for years. Writing for kelligiddish was an unmitigated joy. She has always had perfect pitch, from first read-through  to final take. I thank her for defining Rollins. Godspeed Kelli.”

Giddish responded to the post from her Instagram Stories page with, “I never took it lightly getting to be a character you created and wrote for year after year.”

Leight had left Law & Order: Special Victims Unit after the Season 23 finale, with Variety’s report indicating his departure played a part in the new creative decisions.

The series has cast Molly Burnett as Detective Grace Muncy, who may become Rolins’ replacement on the SVU team. 

As the story unfolds and fans await Giddish’s response, it does appear the choice to have Rollins leave SVU was never in the hands of the actress playing her. 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24 premieres Thursday September 22 at 9/8c on NBC.

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