Law & Order: SVU may have spent the last 22 seasons focused on a group of dedicated detectives' investigations into heinous crimes, but the next episode will see a focus on none other than Rollins from a character perspective. After Kelli Giddish was missing from last week's episode while Rollins was down in Georgia taking care of her dad, she will be back as Rollins in this week's "In The Year We All Fell Down" to show the fallout of that journey, and Giddish spoke with CinemaBlend about what to expect, the Rollisi dynamic, and more.
In "In The Year We All Fell Down," Rollins will try to help her dad after his hospitalization from his stroke, but no longer down in Georgia. Her dad Jim (played by returning guest star James Morrison) will come up to New York. Fans will undoubtedly remember how well (or more specifically, not well) it went the last time he was in the city, and that presents a whole new slew of complications for Rollins. That's not to say that she won't have an ally in her corner, and Kelli Giddish explained what the dynamic with Peter Scanavino's Carisi means to Rollins at this point:
It's a developed, hard-won friendship. And I think Carisi is the first person that Rollins calls or leans on or depends on throughout the tumult of being a working mom in New York and working on Special Victims and having a not-so-normal job. And, you know, her kids love him and it's a deep friendship. And I'm so grateful that we get to portray that, on screen and any moments that they give us to kind of flesh that out are just so easy to play with, with Peter.
Rollins and Carisi have developed arguably the strongest and most complex bond between a man and a woman on Law & Order: SVU since the days of Benson and pre-Organized Crime Stabler, which has resulted in everything from emotionally intense interactions to adorable scenes of Carisi hanging out with Rollins, Jesse, and Billie, so much so that plenty of fans are on board the good ship Rollisi and hoping for romance.
Their dynamic is currently strong as friends, however, even as Carisi was clearly feeling pretty awkward as he prepared to drop the news on Rollins that he's been seeing somebody. Kelli Giddish weighed in on how Rollins will feel about finding out about Carisi's relationship:
Well, I think as we've seen in the past she'll put on her best face and say, 'Oh my God, I'm so happy for you' and then be devastated.
Would it really be a strong Law & Order: SVU relationship if there weren't multiple layers to their interactions? SVU of course isn't a show about relationships, but those relationships develop within the context of work that they do in Special Victims. That said, Kelli Giddish also shared that "In The Year We All Fell Down" will be "completely different" from the usual SVU fare, explaining what fans should be excited to see from this episode:
I think it's the characters they know and love. It's nothing in the squad room, nothing in the courtroom. The sets are completely different. And you're going to see us kind of navigate the COVID world, in a way that only SVU could, by exploring different aspects of it and surprising aspects and how it's affected all of us. And I think it's really nuanced and really well done.
While the episode was "really well done," according to Kelli Giddish, that definitely doesn't mean that it's going to go well for Rollins from start to finish! Her father's debut appearance on Law & Order: SVU came in Season 21, and it resulted in a lot of stress for his daughter. He ended up bailing on her and her sister, but his medical issues presumably mean that he can't pack up and leave without notice this time around. When I noted that the last interaction between Rollins and her dad was fraught, Giddish elaborated:
Well, if the last one was fraught, I don't know how to describe this one! I think her role kind of changes in this because her dad has a stroke. And it's that moment in your life where the kid has to take care of the parent. And [she has] little girls at home that she's prioritizing in her day-to-day life while working. But now to have her dad who she doesn't really trust as being completely the most sane person in the world. Now to have him, you know, she's taking care of him. It makes for an interesting episode to see Rollins see that role and have to accept that role. And of course, Carisi is there to help her, help her through the emotions of that.
Good old dependable Carisi! If ever there was a time that Rollins could use somebody in her corner, it's with her dad in town and all the physical and emotional baggage that he brings. Her sister was around the last time that her dad was in town, but it's up for debate as to how much help vs. how much damage that having Kim around did. Kim isn't going to be on hand this time, and Kelli Giddish weighed in on whether that helps or hurts Rollins:
I think it helps. Yeah, I think it helps. She's kinda having to put on her big girl panties and just take charge of the situation. There's no one there to second-guess her or to be in the way, or anybody else to take care of except her dad who's in an emergency situation. So it kind of clarifies things.
As for what that clarity means for Rollins moving forward in Season 22 and beyond, only time will tell. She had a lot on her plate even before her dad had his stroke and had to come up to New York with her, and it seems pretty safe to say that his much-younger wife could complicate things with his daughter.
Find out with the "In The Year We All Fell Down" episode of Law & Order: SVU on April 22 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. The episode will also see Benson walking into a hostage situation at a neighborhood restaurant, so there will still be danger to be found in the hour.
The next episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime will also feature an appearance from SVU's Carisi himself, with Peter Scanavino guest-starring on the new hit spinoff at 10 p.m. ET after SVU. Another SVU star described Stabler as a "potential threat" to the parent series, so don't miss the latest mini crossover!