Law & Order

Law & Order: SVU Season 25, Episode 11’s Major Return Is A Bigger Tease Then Bensler


After a brief absence of nearly a full season on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) resurfaces to help her good friend, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). And “Prima Nocta” allows her to get busy after her post-precinct life turns out to be a little duller than anticipated. Unfortunately for the audience, though, Rollins’ one-episode return proves just as big of a tease as Benson’s will-they-or-won’t-they decades-long pas de deux with Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni).

The episode explains that Rollins is already out of the professor position she took on when she left the force. While she’s very happy with fellow “SVU” vet Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino) and their kids, she is admittedly bored now that she’s unemployed and was already feeling that way about her work in the Ivy League. This is also why she turned down a tenure offer. So why not shake the monotony up by helping Benson on a case?

The case involves a serial rapist who assaults brides the night before their wedding. Eager to be back in the hunt, Rollins and Carisi pose as a bride and groom to catch their flower shop quarry. It’s just enough to tip the case in their favor. Ultimately, as invigorated as the stakeout makes Carisi and Rollins, she chooses to keep herself out of the fray for now.

In case you’re wondering why there’s so much sizzle and so little steak when it comes to Amanda Rollins’ return to the “Law & Order: SVU” canvas, it comes down to Giddish’s storyline-dictated exit — a move Hargitay publicly opposed.


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Mariska Hargitay pushed back against Amanda Rollins being written out of the show


According to a Mariska Hargitay profile published in Variety’s May issue, when Kelli Giddish left “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” after Season 24, it was a storyline-dictated decision by showrunner Dick Wolf, and Hargitay stood opposed to the choice.

“Kelli is my favorite actor to work with. Kelli is my heart. It’s a sore subject. I have a lot of say on the show, but I didn’t have enough there. I don’t like not being listened to, especially when I’m right,” the actor told the magazine, emphasizing that she tried to get Giddish back for the next season. “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.” Since then, Rollins has appeared once on “Law & Order: Organized Crime” and appeared during the Season 25 premiere of “SVU.” Now you can add “Prima Nocta” to the pile of post-leavetaking episodes she’s done.

With Hargitay rooting for Giddish’s full-time return — and Giddish not ruling out any further appearances as Rollins on “SVU,” it appears that the door might firmly stay open for the actor — as disappointing as that might be for fans who find her go-stay-stay-go behavior as frustrating as Stabler’s.


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