Law & Order: SVU‘s Benson and Rollins had a tearful goodbye in Thursday’s Fall finale. And just after the episode ended, Mariska Hargitay posted a tribute to her co-star Kelli Giddish, who is exiting the series.
“Kelli, I’ve loved acting, learning, growing, talking, laughing and crying with you,” Hargitay posted to Instagram. “I’ve loved watching your achingly beautiful performances. I’ve loved watching our friendship deepen and grow and blossom. I’ve loved every single minute of it, and I will miss you so much. You have my respect, my gratitude and my love forever.” She signed off, “xo M.”
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In August, Giddish confirmed that she would leave the long-running procedural in Season 24. “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 wrote at the time. “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.”
Thursday’s episode found Giddish’s Rollins marrying Assistant District Attorney Dominic “Sonny” Carisi in an impromptu courthouse ceremony attended by their co-workers. Near the end of the episode, Rollins announced her intentions to leave the Special Victims Unit to take a teaching position at Fordham. Though Olivia at first balked at her friend and co-worker’s imminent departure, she eventually came around and wished Amanda well. (Read a full recap of the episode.)
Giddish herself posted her thoughts about leaving SVU shortly before the Fall finale aired. “To everyone who supported Rollins – thank you,” the actress wrote on Instagram Thursday alongside a collection of photos of her and her cast mates, including OG leading lady Mariska Hargitay.
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