Shock waves went through the entertainment industry when news broke this week that Kelli Giddish (ex-Di Henry, All My Children) was leaving her eleven-year role as Detective Amanda Rollins on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and now it's been revealed that the exit was not the actress' choice.
According to Variety, the casting shake-up was "a call made from above" in line with the "company always looking to keep the show as up-to-date and current as possible."
Mariska Hargitay, who is both the star and an executive producer on drama, as well as at least one other producer reportedly tried to keep Giddish on the series, but the ball had already been rolling.
The outlet reports that salary negotiations were also part of the conversation, and "ultimately, a compromise couldn't be made."
Giddish, who joined SVU in 2011, made a statement on Wednesday, confirming her exit. "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," she shared. "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."
Showrunner David Graziano responded to the news of Giddish's exit after angry fans began tagging him in social media messages. "You might take a moment to entertain the idea that things are more complex than they appear in a world of emojis and tweets," he stated. "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."
Separately, producer Julie Martin took to Twitter to promise fans that the character of Rollins and her on-screen love, Carisi (Peter Scanavino), will "have a happy ending."
Giddish is set to depart in the middle of season 24 of SVU, which will premiere on Thursday, September 22, as part of a three-hour crossover event with Organized Crime and the Law & Order flagship series.
Kelli Giddish got her start in the entertainment industry on All My Children, where she starred as Dixie Martin's look-alike, Di Henry, from March 2005 to September 2007. Some of her other credits include Damages, Without a Trace, The Burg, Past Life, Chase, and The Good Wife. She also appeared in a 2007 episode of Law & Order: SVU as Kara Bawson.
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