'Law & Order: SVU' Star Demore Barnes Reacts to His Exit From Series

Law & Order: SVU's Demore Barnes admits he was "surprised" to learn of his character's exit from the NBC series. The actor, who plays Deputy Chief Christian Garland, shared Friday that he was grateful for his time on the show but wasn't clued into the announcement that his character and Officer Kat Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder) would not be continuing at the NYPD ahead of its Season 23 premiere Thursday.

"While I know you were happy that I was here, and that I'm happy that I was here, I also know you're sad and surprised and I am too," Barnes admitted in an Instagram post he labeled his official statement on the matter. "I don't totally know why this happened." Barnes and Hyder were both introduced in Season 21 as recurring characters and were promoted to series regulars for Season 22. 

Barnes said he was "so very proud to have played the first Black deputy chief in SVU history," and expressed his gratitude to his colleagues in the cast and crew. He specifically called out lead Mariska Hargitay for "spearheading [his] shift to series regular" last season. Thanking NBC for continuing to tell the stories of survivors on SVU, Barnes called for more opportunities for marginalized people to tell their truths. 

"I hope that Wolf Entertainment's leadership, in giving me opportunity amplify vital voice and story, will result in many studios continuing to open doors of opportunities for others to do the same," he continued. "This must continue." He concluded the post, "Chief Garland and I would not have it any other way. I love you all and thank you for loving me back. I'll see you soon."

Hyder also expressed surprise at her exit from SVU, writing on Twitter earlier this month, "The decision was made above my pay grade and wouldn't have been my choice. But hey, that's showbiz for ya." She added, "to anyone who felt represented by any part of Kat's being or mission, please know that you will always have representation in me" and thanked the fandom "for welcoming me with open arms." The actress said her time on the show has "been an experience I have grown from greatly," adding in the caption, "Kat's outta the bag... #SVU23 Just got a lot less colorful."