TV

Longtime ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Showrunner Warren Leight Reacts To Kelli Giddish Exit

Longtime former Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight has shared his thoughts on the upcoming exit of cast member Kellie Giddish, who announced she would be leaving the show after 12 seasons.

“Writing for Kelli Giddish was an unmitigated joy,” Leight wrote on Instagram Thursday. “She has always had perfect pitch, from first read-through to final take. I thank her for defining Rollins. Godspeed, Kelli.”

Giddish later replied to Leight’s post in an Instagram story, writing, “I never took it lightly getting to be a character you created and wrote for year after year.”

Leight had served two stints as showrunner on SVU, the first at the beginning of Season 13 when the drama had just lost its co-lead Christopher Meloni. He rejoined SVU in 2019 for the show’s record-breaking 21st season, and exited after a three-season run in May.

Giddish, who plays Detective Amanda Rollins, joined the NBC drama in its 13th season and will depart in the middle of the upcoming 24th season.

SVU’s new showrunner David Graziano responded Wednesday to Giddish’s announcement on her Instagram page, writing, “You might take a moment to entertain the idea that things are more complex than they appear in a world of emojis and tweets. All I’ll say is Kelli has handled this with the most incredibly classy comportment. She is, without a doubt, one of the finest industry professionals I’ve come across in my 24 years of writing for television. I’m saddened by her looming exit. It’ll be my lucky day if I ever get to write for her again.”

Graziano weighed in following an angry backlash by fans to Giddish’s pending exit, some of whom pointed the finger at him.

In her announcement of her decision to depart the show, Giddish noted that the role of Rollins had been one of the highlights of her life.

“I wanted to address the chatter I’ve seen online and let everyone know that this will, indeed, be my last season on Law & Order: SVU,” she said in a statement. “Playing Rollins has been one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life. I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of the Law & Order family for the last 12 years. There is simply no other character on TV like Rollins. She’s grown and changed, and I have as well. I started on this show when I was in my late 20s and I’m grateful I got to spend so many of my adult years with Rollins in my life.”

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