In recent years, law enforcement, both real and fictional, has faced a slew of decisions, albeit a tense one. Many wondered, in the wake of George Floyds' killing and the resurgence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, if cop shows would come to an end. Despite the fact that the original Law & Order was revived last year, the sister Chicago P.D. law enforcement franchise is still going strong.
Kelli Giddish, who plays Detective Amanda Rollins in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, appears to have been a victim of the Law & Orders shakeup, yet her departure shows how far the Law & Order universe has come.
Kelli Giddish's departure from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which she later denied as part of the series' new showrunner David Graziano, was not a surprise departure for the series. She had previously served as an SVUs elite team member, following the departure of Chris Melonis equally notorious Detective Elliot Stabler (who has now returned in this role in Organized Crime, as well as a number of comebacks in the spinoff that made him famous).
Rollins is raped by her former captain in Atlanta, who assaults another deputy in the season 16 episode Forgiving Rollins. She responds dismissively, clearly projecting her own trauma on this survivor because its what Rollins herself had to do, as a kind of justice wish fulfillment for survivors who hoped their assaults would be treated with the same care as the dedicated detectives who investigate these horrible crimes every week on NBC, but especially Captain Olivia Benson, the patron saint of rape
Forgiving Rollins after she got Benson was difficult, despite all the baggage we discover about her, especially when it comes to her sister, the irritating Kim, played with aplomb by Lindsay Pulsipher. Yet, her narrative is often poorly written, preventing her from growing as a character, as a dual superiority complex that appears to have triumphed over her toxic family while always regressing.
Although we have empathy for Rollins and understand why she does not perform her job with that same empathy, she does go to therapy to correct her toxic upbringing and end her life with a hostage (and thats it). The episode that completely soured me to the character was season 19s Service, when Rollins laments why SVU takes such a stance on rapists on the job.
Rollins is a prime example of how SVU and its brethren are still fighting off the headlines. The ripped from the headlines schema doesnt always allow SVU to take the time to deal with these newsworthy crimes with the respect they deserve (which is a concern with the true-crime genre in general).
Detective Rollins isnt the only issue with SVU; shes just one part of a larger issue with cop shows and law enforcement in general. She was never forced to learn from her mistakes, and she was always protected. Getting rid of her isnt going to solve every Law & Order issue, but it is at least a step in the right direction.