Law & Order: Special Victims Unit said farewell Thursday to Kelli Giddish in the kindest way possible: it threw her character a surprise wedding and then found her a new job that didn’t involve catching creeps.
Giddish confirmed in August that she would leave the show after 13 seasons. She joined the Dick Wolf drama in 2011 to play Det. Amanda Rollins after appearing in guest-starring roles on both SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. “Playing Rollins has been one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life,” she posted on social media earlier this year. “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.”
Rollins’ nuptials to longtime love ADA Sonny Carisi, Jr (Peter Scanavino) opened Thursday’s episode but the two didn’t rush off to a honeymoon; Sonny still had a case to prosecute. So Rollins’ job was to find the best way to let Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) know that she was leaving the department for a teaching job at Fordham University.
Rollins did get one last opportunity to arrest a baddo while visiting Benson out of town at a hotel. Benson discovers a one-way mirror in her room, so both she and Rollins figure out that the hotel clerk has been watching them from his laptop. He blames another guy for setting up the hidden camera.
After tracking down the real perpetrator at a bar, the women take the man back to the room where he admits his dastardly crime. He’s been making secret porn! The women end up getting blotto before Rollins finally breaks the bad news: she doesn’t want to wear the badge anymore.
“You taught me how to be a good detective, you taught me how to love myself, how to let people in,” she tells Benson. “This is hard for me. I made this choice and I need you to be okay with it.”
Benson wasn’t at first, but the episode ends with the two women hugging and in tears.
“You’re not losing me. We’re friends,” said Rollins. “That’s not going to change, I’m not going to disappear.”
“I wouldn’t let you if you tried,” replied Benson. “I know that you have to do this.”
The episode ends with the unit giving Rollins a round of applause.