Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Law & Order: SVU Season 24, called “Mirror Effect.”
The slow build to Law & Order: SVU saying goodbye to Amanda Rollins continued with “Mirror Effect,” as the detective continued to struggle with the aftermath of being shot in the three-part crossover that started the season. While it wasn’t that long ago that only the people closest to her could see that something was off, her trauma was affecting her career and home life in major ways this week. It’s rough to watch knowing that the endgame is Rollins leaving, but I have to say – Kelli Giddish is absolutely crushing it.
Her story in “Mirror Effect” began with a therapy session that confirmed she still wasn’t exactly being religious about making her appointments with her therapist, who warned her that she’ll have to report her if she keeps skipping out, and that would mean pulling her from active duty. SVU characters not embracing their NYPD-ordered therapy is practically a tradition for the show at this point, but Rollins clearly needs to open up more than she has so far.
She started slipping a bit during the case of the week as well, which wasn’t helped by the fact that her date night with Carisi ended with them finding a victim who needed help. Of course, Stabler practically made a career out of making questionable decisions when his personal life was affecting his job, so it seemed like Rollins might have been okay… until Jesse and Billie screamed in the middle of the night, believing that there was a monster in their closet.
While Carisi rushed right in to check on the girls, Rollins went and grabbed her gun before busting in and checking the closet for an intruder in a panic. The girls were terrified and confused, and it was a wakeup call for Rollins, who sent them to stay with her mom. She didn’t want to be alone, and stayed at Carisi’s office with him while he did trial prep, not caring that she had nothing to do. Carisi was obviously concerned, and Benson clearly wants to help as well, but there’s no easy way out of this.
Kelli Giddish’s looming departure means that Rollins isn’t going to bounce back and get back in action with the unit, so – similarly to what Chicago P.D. did in saying goodbye to Jesse Lee Soffer’s Jay Halstead – there can’t be a totally happy ending for fans, as she'll be gone no matter what.
What I can be happy about is that Kelli Giddish is getting some meaty material in this arc, and she’s knocking it out of the park. All of her scenes in the episode really showcased her talents as an actress, and Rollins’ detachment when she was trying to get to the elevator while surrounded by a jeering crowd was a standout sequence. Not every star could convey a character being constantly close to the edge of breaking while still doing her job. If there's a silver lining to losing Rollins, it's seeing Giddish tackle this storyline before she's gone.
Rollins’ self-awareness that something is wrong combined with her moving ahead with the work makes this arc intriguing to watch, and leaves me hopeful that SVU’s exit for her is simply retiring from active duty to enjoy a safer career that lets her be confident of going home to her girls. And ideally, SVU will find a way to write her out without tanking the Rollisi relationship, when it was going so well to close Season 23 and so far in Season 24.
It's still not clear when Rollins' final episode will air, so keep staying tuned. New episodes of Law & Order: SVU air on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, and stream next day with a Peacock subscription. It’s in the middle of a full night of Law & Order action, between the original at 8 p.m. and Organized Crime at 10 p.m. For more viewing options moving forward, check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
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. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. 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).