'Law & Order: SVU's Kelli Giddish Was Reportedly Forced Out

While Law & Order: SVU fans continue to reel over Kelli Giddish's exit from the long-running show, the reason for the sudden turn of events is becoming clearer. It was reportedly not her decision, nor was it a decision from the new showrunner, David Graziano. Giddish announced Wednesday that she was leaving SVU after 12 seasons of playing Det. Amanda Rollins, just hours after NBC released a trailer for the first three-show crossover in Law & Order history.

Giddish's exit was reportedly made by executives "above" those directly responsible for the SVU story, sources told Variety late Thursday. NBC is "always looking to keep the show as up to date and current as possible," Variety reports. Even Mariska Hargitay, the star and executive producer of SVU, and another producer could not convince NBC to change its mind. The decision was already made. Sources said salary negotiations were also part of the talks, but the sides could not reach a compromise.

After fans began speculating about Giddish's future on the show, the star confirmed Season 24 will be her last on SVU. "Playing Rollins has been one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life," the Georgia native wrote. "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."

Fans flooded Giddish's Instagram post with angry messages, with some even tagging Graziano, who is taking over for longtime executive producer Warren Leight. Graziano eventually responded to fans, saying the situation was "more complex" than it appeared. "All I'll say is Kelli has handled this with the most incredibly classy comportment," Graziano wrote. "She is, without a doubt, one of the finest industry professionals I've come across in my 24 years of writing television. I'm saddened by her looming exit. It'll be my lucky day if I ever get to write for her again."

Giddish joined SVU for Season 13, helping the show survive after Christopher Meloni left. She became an integral part of the series, with Rollins becoming a fan-favorite character and an important person in Olivia Benson's life. In Season 23, Rollins and now-A.D.A. "Sonny" Carisi (Peter Scanavino) finally began the romantic relationship many hoped for. Producer Julie Martin promised a "happy ending" for the couple on Twitter.

Law & Order: SVU Season 24 will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. ET as the middle part of a crossover with Law & Order and Law & Order: Organized Crime. Weeks before Giddish's departure was announced, SVU cast former Days of Our Lives star Molly Burnett as a new detective joining the squad. Hargitay, Ice-T, Scanavino, and Octavio Pisano are also returning.