Law & Order: SVU had to take out Kelli Giddish’s Amanda Rollins to improve

Law enforcement, both real and imaginary, have suffered a showdown in recent years, albeit a confused one. Many have wondered, in the wake of the George Floyd murder and the resurgence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, if the crime shows were over. Law and order: organized crime dumped his showrunner Craig Gore amid Facebook’s controversial comments on the 2020 protests (the show has had five showrunners in its three seasons since). Still, last year the original Law and order he is risen, and his sister Chicago PD the law enforcement franchise is going strong, so it would appear that cop shows are doubling down.

However, cop shows no longer exist apolitically, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Actress Kelli Giddish appears to have been a victim of the Law & Order jolt, with her departure announced before SVUSeason 24 premiere on Thursday. But this writer will not miss Giddish’s detective Amanda Rollins and her legacy of blaming the victims and shaming the sluts, and her departure shows how far the Law & Order universe must go.

This is not a celebration of the release of actress Kelli Giddish Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – which was not of his own free will, and was cited by new series showrunner David Graziano only as part of the “complex” behind-the-scenes creative and financial decisions that drive the show – but rather his character. Giddish’s Amanda Rollins entered Dick Wolf’s television universe as a member of SVUelite squad for the show’s 13th season following the departure of Chris Meloni’s equally troubled detective Elliot Stabler (who is now back in this role in Organized crime, as well as numerous cameos in the spinoff that made him famous). And it has quickly (and often) become an example of the limitations of cop shows to truly protect and serve their communities. She is judicious, scolding, and arguably more conservative than we know, if her defense of an Ann Coulter-like political expert in the season 19 episode “Info Wars” is any indication.

Olivia Benson and Amanda Collins standing by the vending machines with their hands in their pockets

Photo: Virginia Sherwood / NBC

In subsequent seasons we discover that Rollins was raped by her former captain in Atlanta, who assaulted another deputy in the sixteenth season episode “Forgiving Rollins”. “She’ll get over Him,” Rollins says scornfully, clearly projecting her trauma onto this survivor because that’s what Rollins herself had to do. It is a reaction that has flown in the face of how SVU was being received at the time, as a kind of fulfillment of a desire for justice for the survivors who hoped their assaults would be treated with the same care as the devoted investigators who each week investigated these vicious crimes on NBC, but especially the captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), patron saint of rape avengers.

Compared to Benson, forgiving Rollins afterward was difficult, even with all the baggage we discover about her, particularly with regards to her sister, the maddening Kim, played with aplomb by Lindsay Pulsipher. Having such chaotic relatives should make Rollins recognizable and understanding. Still, her story is always poorly written and allows for a less charitable reading about her as a character that prevents her from growing up, with her twin superiority complex for seemingly rising above her toxic family but always regressing.

While we have empathy for Rollins and understand why he sometimes responds questionably to survivors that he doesn’t think they are doing the right thing, he doesn’t do his job with the same empathy. An unconvinced plot of her going to therapy to work through her toxic upbringing ended with her being held hostage (and that’s it). The episode that completely soured me for the character was Season 19’s “Service”, when Rollins wonders why SVU “give[s] a damn ”on the prostitutes who were attacked. For a detective tasked with bringing rapists to justice, having such a mockery of a group of people who are between 45% and 75% likely to experience sexual violence at work, according to the Urban Justice Center, is disgusting. .

And that’s where Rollins represents the uphill battle SVU and his brothers are still paying badly. The show’s “snatched from the headlines” scheme doesn’t always allow enough distance from these noteworthy crimes to SVU to handle them with the sensitivity they deserve (which is a problem with the true-crime genre in general). SVU had the opportunity to change the way he portrayed the police in the late 2020 season 22 return; however, many will argue that the damage the franchise has done to police perception over the course of two decades cannot be undone in a few months. As it was, the first episode of season 22 saw white woman Amy Cooper calling the police on black birdwatcher Christian Cooper (no relative) in Central Park’s The Ramble which occurred the same day as George Floyd’s murder, without making any effort to undo that summer’s racial showdown with one of the treatments that made the survivors of the show fall in love with. With SVU addressing the Amber Heard / Johnny Depp case in the next 24th season and with the overturning of Roe vs Wade earlier this year, the show will likely take into account the more title-torn storylines in its scheme.

Detective Rollins did not SVUthe only problem; it’s only part of a larger problem with cop shows and law enforcement in general. She was protected from having to grow up and learn from her mistakes. Getting rid of her won’t solve everything Law and order problem, but it is at least a step in the right direction.

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