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What Happens to Amanda Rollins on Law & Order: SVU?
We're always rooting for Rollins!
As one of the most hardworking detectives of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Detective Amanda Rollins, played by the amazing Kelli Giddish, is a bonafide fan favorite. First appearing in Season 13 of Law & Order: SVU, Rollins has undergone an impressive transformation throughout her 12 years in the SVU. But there’s no denying that Rollins has changed the most in Season 24.
In the Law & Order: SVU midseason finale, Rollins told Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) that she was leaving the SVU for an exciting new opportunity. As such an integral member of the squad for so many years, we’re taking a look back at the key events that led to Rollins’ bittersweet goodbye.
Season 24 began with Rollins in grave danger
Season 24 began with a three-part Law & Order crossover against a sex-trafficking ring. Rollins was in charge of monitoring one of the key witnesses, who was placed in a safe house during the investigation. As the case progressed, Rollins traveled to the safe house to bring the witness back for questioning, but their situation turned South quickly.
Just as they left the safe house, Rollins and the witness were attacked by a group of gunmen that tracked down their location. Rollins managed to protect the witness from the attack and help take down the gunmen, but she was taken down in the end, collapsing from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Things were not looking good for Rollins when the SVU arrived, and after she was taken away in an ambulance, Benson and Rollins’ boyfriend, Sonny Carisi (Peter Scanavino), were left dumbstricken and devastated.
Thankfully, Rollins woke up in the hospital to find Carisi standing at her bedside for support. They both held hands and smiled at each other with relief, but it was clear that Rollins was also rocked by the event. The shooting was not the first time Rollins has brushed paths with bullets; she was also shot back in Season 14. But a lot has changed for Rollins since her early years in the SVU, and she has much more to lose now.
Rollins struggled to recover while back at the SVU
Episode 2, "The One You Feed," takes place six weeks after the shooting, with Rollins out of the hospital bed and back at work at the SVU. While tracing down a group of rapists, Rollins continually used the job to distract herself from her inner demons in the aftermath of the incident. Anyone that has gone through what Rollins has would be paranoid, so acclimating to work proved difficult for her, despite her efforts to keep that struggle internal.
As a concerned partner, Carisi checked in on Rollins, telling her to take it easy. Toward the end of the episode, Benson asked to chat with Rollins, admitting she was hesitant about Rollins being back and working in such a short window. It didn’t take much detective work to identify Rollins’ inner turmoil. Benson reminded Rollins that the trauma of these events often accumulates, offering an ear.
Rollins told Benson how horrifying it felt to feel like she hadn't had enough time with Carisi and how scared she was to lose her children. Rollins revealed that she feels careless with her own life, and the shooting was the consequence. "You never had anything to lose before," Benson told her, with Rollins solemnly agreeing. Moving forward from the shooting, Rollins has never viewed her time as more precious.
Detective Rollins became Professor Rollins
Throughout early Season 24, Rollins has been killing it while taking down whatever criminal case comes her way, even brushing paths with the Organized Crime Task Force at one point. Rollins has taken a new lease on life, and after struggling with PTSD for a while, finally experienced an upswing in Episode 6, “Controlled Burn.”
The episode began with Rollins standing in front of a classroom of law students giving a criminology lecture. “The predator’s desire tends to overcome all rational thought,” Rollins explained to them. “There’s no limit to how far a sexual predator will go to satisfy his or her compulsions.” Each class member was captivated by Rollins’ presentation, with her experience in the SVU lending itself effortlessly to some transferable skills in a lecture hall.
As Fin (Ice-T) and Rollins arrived at work the next day, Fin took note of Rollins’ chipper mood. She revealed that Carisi was asked to teach at his old law school, Fordham, but volunteered Rollins for the gig instead. While Rollins worked on the latest case, she tackled it like a champ, and Benson caught on to the sudden mood swing. Benson then decided to check in on Rollins, keenly aware of her ongoing battle with anxiety and paranoia.
“I’m in a good place,” Rollins told her. “Figuring things out."
Benson smiled. “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing that.”
It had been a while since viewers had seen a smile on Rollins’ face, and it was refreshing to see her thrive outside of work, both with Carisi and in the new teaching gig. With so many years in the SVU, she’s become the perfect candidate for educating others with a passion for justice. As expected, Carisi informed Rollins that she was offered a full-time teaching position at Fordham. The question quickly became whether or not Rollins' journey toward wellness would include staying in the SVU.
Why Rollins leaves the SVU
The Season 24 midseason finale was an emotional rollercoaster, focusing less on law or order and more on the numerous developments in Rollins' personal life. Episode 9, “And a Trauma In a Pear Tree,”began with Carisi contacting his SVU colleagues and asking to meet him at the courthouse. Being who they are, they all assume the meet-up is related to a case. Not exactly! As the squad gathered in the courtroom, Rollins rounded the corner in a wedding dress, shocking the SVU with a surprise wedding. Needing only their closest friends as witnesses to tie the knot, Carisi and Rollins get hitched in a romantically intimate ceremony surrounded by their SVU loved ones.
While spending time out of town, Benson had a case fall into her lap, quickly recruiting Rollins for help. Rollins and Benson’s investigation quickly turned into a girl's night of confessions, which led Rollins to finally come clean about her big news: she’s leaving the SVU to accept the teaching position. As one of Benson’s closest friends and confidantes for the past 12 years, the update is hard for both Rollins and Benson to accept, but they eventually come to understand why Rollins needs to see the opportunity through.
The midseason finale of Law & Order: SVU ended with Rollins and Benson touching base in Benson’s office for the final time. After Benson told Rollins she’ll miss seeing her at work every day, Rollins assured her longtime SVU BFF that she isn’t leaving the city, so nothing needs to change with their friendship. Benson promised her the same, and they shared an emotional embrace.
Fighting back her tears, Benson told Rollins to “stop postponing joy,” and Rollins wholeheartedly agreed. As Rollins left the office, she was met with a standing ovation from the entire SVU, instantly taken aback by the reception. Giving goodbye hugs to her beloved colleagues, Rollins received the proper send-off she deserved after 12 seasons of crime-busting success. SVU fans will miss Rollins dearly, but it's safe to say this next chapter of married life as a professor is an exciting step forward.
Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.
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