Mariska Hargitay Couldn’t Stop Dick Wolf from Writing Off Kelli Giddish on SVU: ‘It’s a Sore Subject’

Mariska Hargitay Couldn’t Stop Dick Wolf from Writing Off Kelli Giddish on SVU: ‘It’s a Sore Subject’

Even though Kelli Giddish has since returned to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, her exit still makes Mariska Hargitay emotional.

In an interview with Variety, Hargitay described Giddish as “my favorite actor to work with” as she admitted that she didn’t have the sway to convince SVU’s creator, Dick Wolf, to keep Giddish, 44, on the show as Detective Amanda Rollins, despite now having more of a say on bigger decisions.

Mariska Hargitay and Kelli Giddish are seen at film set of the 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit' TV Series on September 17, 2022 in New York City.

a sore subject,” Hargitay, 60, admitted. “I have a lot of say on the show, but I didn’t have enough there.”

Giddish departed the series after 12 seasons in 2022, and Hargitay said of her efforts to get her to stay: “I don’t like not being listened to, especially when I’m right. That relationship was one of the most powerful relationships in television because you saw these two badass women, so flawed and so there for each other.”

She added of the actress, who returned to SVU for the season 25 premiere, “Kelli is my heart.”

Giddish initially exited SVU midway through season 24 before returning for a cameo in the season finale and then again for the season 25 premiere. During her departure, her character was pregnant and expecting her first child with Assistant District Attorney Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino). She also stepped away from the SVU squad after accepting a job as a criminology professor at Fordham University.

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- "We Dream Of Machine Elves" Episode 21008 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson, Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins

At the time, Giddish 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.”

Following her exit, she told PEOPLE she was “of course” crying real tears during her final scene with Hargitay, which saw their characters embrace as Rollins left the squad.

“That relationship really developed organically over time into such a strong female relationship. And it wasn’t like I came on the show 12 years ago and we were like, ‘Hey, I’m going to be your best buddy,’” Giddish said of her friendship with Hargitay, both onscreen and off.

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- "Mirror Effect" Episode 24002 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kelli Giddish as Det. Amanda Rollins, Mariska Hargitay as Capt. Olivia Benson

“It wasn’t that. Every step of the way was earned, every hardship and every step back, Rollins had to fight her way back into being trusted again,” she added. “So it was really fun to play and it kind of mirrors mine and Mariska’s relationship in real life.”

When Giddish reprised her role for the season 25 premiere — and another cameo later in the season — Hargitay was understandably joyful.

“#Reunited and it feels so good,” Hargitay wrote in a post on Instagram as she posed with Giddish on set. “#MeAndMyGirl #raindropskeepfallingonmyhead #DynamicDuo #GirlPower #LadyBosses #FierceFriendship #Svu25.

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