Mariska Hargitay opens up about Kelli Giddish's impending exit from Law & Order: SVU. The longest, non-animated, scripted series return on the small screen for its 24th season. The cast remains intact for its upcoming year spearheaded by series veterans Hargitay as Olivia Benson and Ice-T as Fin Tutuola as they pursue sexual predators in New York City.
Law & Order: SVU season 24, however, will also be a bittersweet one for both those involved in the show and fans as it will also mark Giddish's final year as Amanda Rollins in the series. The actress joined the police procedural in season 13 — on the heels of Chis Meloni's departure as Elliot Stabler. The real reason for Giddish leaving the show remains unclear, but viewers of the series are unhappy about it, especially after news broke out that she was forced out of the series.
Now, Hargitay breaks her silence over the matter in a new interview with ET Canada. The actress makes it clear that she loves Giddish and that she will miss her after she leaves. Hargitay also points out the impact Rollins impacted Law & Order: SVU's storytelling, particularly in terms of Benson getting a loyal back-up. Read her full answer below:
"Oh god, Kelli. I love Kelli, she's my girl. She is one of my favourite actors that I've ever worked with and we got to build something really beautiful together and really earned together because our characters had quite a journey. It wasn't so easy at the beginning and then we just fell into this beautiful safety, trust." "That was a hard one. I will miss that because she was my go-to, my right hand, the woman that I could talk to. Olivia Benson's out there taking care of everyone else and she was somebody that really took care of me and had my back. Even though Fin has my back and Stabler has my back, it's different to have a woman have your back because it's a different perspective." "I'm gonna miss her a lot, but she's a lifelong friend and I'm just glad that our paths crossed, and I know they'll continue to cross."
Hargitay is the face of Law & Order: SVU. But aside from being its lead star, she also has a say in how the show is run as an executive producer, so her comments regarding Giddish's exit are important. Interestingly, however, the actress was able to get away with not addressing the controversy regarding her co-star's impending exit. According to reports, Hargitay actually fought for Giddish to remain in the police procedural. But despite her effort, the decision has been made and it came from someone from the upper management — whether that's NBC or Wolf Productions is unknown. But rumor has it that Dick Wolf himself was the one who wanted to get Giddish out.
With barely any official comment about the controversy from people involved, Law & Order: SVU is only leaving room for more speculations regarding the matter. Giddish's confirmation also didn't say why she is leaving the series. It's worth noting, however, that the show has a history of having disputes with its stars, particularly in the pay department. Meloni infamously left Law & Order: SVU after salary negotiations fell through. The good thing is, Law & Order: Organized Crime proves that there's always a chance for departing actors to return which keeps the door open for Giddish potentially coming back.