Law & Order: SVU Star Kelli Giddish Exit Reportedly Not Her Decision
When fans of Law & Order: SVU learned that Kelli Giddish (Detective Amanda Rollins) was departing the long-running series in the middle of its upcoming 24th season, there was a mix of shock and anger that turned to social media looking for answers. In fact, incoming showrunner David Graziano (named to the role after Warren Leight's exit at the end of last season) has felt the wrath of fans who assume he had something to do with it (a claim he denied, which we'll get to in a minute). Now, Variety is reporting exclusively from "multiple sources" that Giddish's departure was not her choosing, nor was the decision made by Graziano. Reportedly, the decision was "a call made from above," with one source noting that "the company is always looking to keep the show as up-to-date and current as possible." Series star & EP Mariska Hargitay and "at least one other producer" fought to keep Giddish on the show, but "the decision had already been made" (with salary negotiations "part of the conversation" with an agreement unable to be reached).
Now here's a look at Giddish's initial Instagram post confirming the news, followed by the text from Giddish's post as well as Graziano's initial reaction to fan backlash:
"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," Giddish said in a statement when the news first went public. "I want to thank Dick Wolf, Mariska Hargitay, 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."
For his part, Graziano pushed back on fans tagging & blaming him for Giddish's departure with a response in the comments section of Giddish's Instagram post. "You might take a moment to entertain the idea that things are more complex than they appear in a world of emojis and tweets. All I'll say is Kelli has handled this with the most incredibly classy comportment. She is, without a doubt, one of the finest industry professionals I've come across in my 24 years of writing television. I'm saddened by her looming exit. It'll be my lucky day if I ever get to write for her again," Graziano wrote.