How Law And Order: SVU Said Goodbye To Kelli Giddish's Amanda Rollins And Whether She Could Return

Rollins getting married in Law & Order: SVU
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for the Season 24 fall finale of Law & Order: SVU, called “And A Trauma In A Pear Tree.”

The inevitable has finally happened on Law & Order: SVU with the departure of Amanda Rollins as a Special Victims detective. News broke all the way back in August that longtime series regular Kelli Giddish would be leaving the show in Season 24. The odds of the character getting a happy ending initially didn’t seem great when she was shot in the three-part premiere crossover, and was then dealing badly with her trauma. Now, after she had some time to recover and move forward, the Christmas episode served as the farewell to the actress and revealed why Rollins is leaving… and set up whether or not she could come back. 

How Law & Order: SVU Said Goodbye To Rollins

Fortunately for fans, SVU didn’t pull a bait-and-switch on fans and turn what was looking like a bright future with a new (and much safer) job into a tragedy. Like the previews for the fall finale indicated, Rollins and Carisi tied the knot in a courtroom ceremony with their friends as witnesses. The wedding was actually early in the episode, and they didn’t exactly get to ride right off into the sunset for a honeymoon. Carisi had a trial, and Rollins had to find a way to break the news that she’s taking the teaching job at Fordham to Benson

And of course, the emotional blow for Benson came right after she spent a fun night with Rollins, starting with busting a crook while out of town to visit Noah’s half-brother, and then getting giggly when they started working their way through boxed wine. After a conversation about Stabler when Benson admitted that he’d meant everything to her but she’s still not over him leaving her, Rollins dropped the news about the job that would mean leaving Special Victims. 

Benson didn’t take the news well at all – which tracks, considering they were in their cups and she had just confided in her friend about not getting over Stabler leaving – and Rollins understandably walked out of the hotel room with the mood ruined. They didn’t part well, but all it took was time, a trip back to the city, and a break from the boxed wine for Benson to call her just as she was dropping by her office. 

Rollins started by saying that she was sorry for leaving the hotel right the way she did and that Benson had a right to be upset. For her part, Benson clearly regretted her reaction, and had a sweet message for her friend: 

Don’t postpone joy. I love you, Amanda.

Both women were hugging and crying and laughing by the end of the scene, and it was about as good of a way to say farewell to their on-screen friendship as I think any fan could hope for. Kelli Giddish and Mariska Hargitay crushed it, and the big emotional scene really needed to happen with Benson rather than anybody else. After all, even though Rollins just married Carisi, she’s still going to see him every day. Who better for the audience surrogate than Olivia Benson? 

Amanda exited to a round of applause from the squad room, moving forward to a new job with no daily danger, a new life with Carisi as her husband, and no last-minute tragedy to ruin the mood. If fans had to lose Rollins, I would say that this was just about the best way that it could have happened. But could she come back?

How Law & Order: SVU Could Bring Rollins Back

Well, my biggest question since August about Rollins leaving that made me nervous about a tragedy was how exactly SVU could say goodbye to her without cutting all ties and breaking her up with Carisi. Peter Scanavino wasn’t leaving the show as the ADA, so were we supposed to just assume that Rollins is around and visiting with her SVU friends all the time, and we just never see it? 

As it turns out? Yes, we sure are, and that certainly beats a tragedy or a Rollisi split! In fact, the final conversation between Rollins and Benson seemed directed at fans more than anything else. Rollins said:

You’re not losing me. We’re friends, right? That’s not gonna change, and I’m not gonna disappear.

Now, that’s definitely not a promise that we’ll get any more of Rollins than updates from Carisi about what she’s doing off screen, but it definitely didn’t close the door on seeing her again if Kelli Giddish is available. SVU didn’t waste any time in bringing Demore Barnes later in the same season that he was cut as a series regular, so maybe the show will have Rollins back before the end of Season 24. If nothing else, “And A Trauma In A Pear Tree” left a lot of reasons to be hopeful! 

The promo for the winter premiere of SVU is less hopeful, however, as it appears that Benson is going to be targeted and attacked by gang members. Be sure to tune in to Law & Order: SVU when it returns to NBC on Thursday, January 5 at 9 p.m. ET in the 2023 TV premiere schedule. If you want to revisit some of the best of Kelli Giddish as Rollins during the wait for Season 24 to come back, you can do so streaming with a Peacock subscription!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).