Law And Order: SVU Just Revealed A Great Way To Say Goodbye To Rollins, But How Would Benson React?

Rollins and Benson in Law and Order: SVU Season 22
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 6 of Law & Order: SVU Season 24, called “Controlled Burn.”

The inevitable is getting closer and closer as Law & Order: SVU Season 24 continues, with every episode leading up to the departure of Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins. Although fans have known for months that the actress would be leaving before the end of the year, SVU hasn’t revealed exactly how Rollins will say goodbye to the unit where she’d invested blood, sweat, and tears for over a decade. After “Controlled Burn,” I would say that the show revealed the best way to say that goodbye… and reminded why it could be rough for Benson to lose her. 

How SVU Set Up A New Path For Rollins

The character’s first scene in the episode wasn’t her on the job to investigate a vicious felony or reeling from the trauma of her shooting in the three-show crossover the launched Season 24. Instead, she was giving a lecture on human sexual deviance to a crowd of criminology students. While that’s not exactly a happy subject, Rollins came alive while imparting the knowledge that she gained from all her years of chasing predators and getting them off the streets. 

Carisi was in the audience, looking incredibly proud, and their next scene was making out in her apartment, so the good ship Rollisi finally seems to be sailing on smooth water. The episode shed a little bit more light on how her lecture came about in a conversation between her and Fin while en route to speak with a victim: 

  • Fin: "Let me get this straight. They wanted Carisi to do a lecture at his old law school and he volunteers you at last minute? I’d be pissed." 
  • Rollins: "I was pissed at first, but it was kind of fun."
  • Fin: "Yeah, Professor Rollins does have a ring to it." 

My assumption ever since Rollins was shot has been that she would bench herself from the danger and stress of Special Victims and take a boring desk job that would conveniently keep her alive but off screen. After “Controlled Burn” and Rollins thriving with teaching future criminologists, I feel like SVU found a way to honor the character with an exciting new path in her career rather than just benching her. I was resigned to losing her before; I can be happy for her if she gets to use her Special Victims knowledge to teach others. 

Why Benson Will Probably Have A Rough Time With Rollins Leaving

While Benson has an irreplaceable bond with Fin after all their years together and an ambiguous relationship with Stabler that’s just been getting more complicated since 1999, Rollins and Benson have a strong connection as women and mothers in Special Victims. Fans don’t often get to see Benson as candid as she was when talking to Rollins about how the vast majority of their perps are men, and the conversation was a sign of how comfortable they are in trusting each other. 

And while the good captain of course trusts Fin and approves of both Velasco and Muncy, she’ll be losing somebody very important to her on a daily basis. Sure, if Rollins is just pursuing a new career path (or benched herself as I originally assumed), we can imagine that they’re still spending time together off-screen between cases, but it won’t be the same. Benson could be in for a personal loss with Rollins’ departure, which could be rough to watch. 

On the whole, however, “Controlled Burn” left me feeling more optimistic than ever about the kind of sendoff that SVU will give to Rollins. It’s still sad that she’ll be leaving, but if she’s making a choice that will make her feel as rewarded as she seemed to feel while giving her lecture, then there’s a silver lining. I’m just not sure how it would work for her to pursue teaching since she’s not a professor!

Find out with new episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, between Law & Order at 8 p.m. and Law & Order: Organized Crime at 10 p.m. in the 2022 TV schedule. If you missed any episodes or just want to revisit some Rollins highlights, you can do so streaming with a Peacock Premium 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. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.