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Is Kelli Giddish’s Detective Amanda Rollins returning to ‘SVU’?

"Law & Order: SVU" appears to be dropping hints that the fan-favorite former detective may eventually return in some capacity.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 25
Rollins had no problem sliding back into her role as a detective with the SVU team.Virginia Sherwood / NBC
/ Source: TODAY

With Mariska Hargitay on your side, it appears almost anything is possible — including a potential return to a role on “Law & Order: SVU” for Kelli Giddish.

The May 2 episode, “Prima Nocta,” seemingly laid the groundwork for Giddish’s Detective Amanda Rollins to rejoin the SVU squad.

Why did Kelli Giddish leave 'SVU'?

Giddish announced her departure from the NBC prime-time drama in August 2022, and her final full-time episode aired in December of that year.

Since then, she has reprised Rollins for a few guest appearances on the series, including in the Season 24 finale, when she told Hargitay’s Capt. Olivia Benson she was pregnant with her and husband Dominick Carisi’s (Peter Scanavino) baby, and in the Season 25 premiere.

In a May 1 interview with Variety, Hargitay revealed that she fought to keep Giddish on the show, but series creator Dick Wolf ultimately had the final say and had her written off.

“I don’t like not being listened to, especially when I’m right,” she said. “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.”

Hargitay also described Giddish as her “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,” she added.

In this case, Hargitay’s yearslong effort to bring back her friend may have paid off.

What happened with Rollins in 'Prima Nocta'?

“Prima Nocta” begins with a glimpse of Rollins and Carisi’s home life, with Rollins preparing breakfast for her kids before Carisi, the ADA, leaves for work.

It’s revealed that Rollins, who took a job as a professor after leaving the SVU — even making a guest appearance on Season Three of “Law & Order: Organized Crime” — is not working at the moment because she recently left her position.

“I was bored being a professor,” she tells Carisi, who says he can always try to get her a job as an investigator in the district attorney’s office.

Rollins sarcastically replies about how they’d “be together all day and all night” if she had a job like that.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 25
Rollins and Carisi have been pulled in different directions because of their jobs since welcoming their first child, a son named Nicky, together.Virginia Sherwood / NBC

Benson calls Rollins, and it doesn’t take long for the captain to pick up on her friend and former colleague’s boredom, so she offers to have lunch with her in her office. Rollins observes that Benson is no longer short-staffed and surveys the recent members of the SVU team, including Detective Terry Bruno (Kevin Kane), who crashes their meal. Bruno tells Benson they caught a case and introduces himself to Rollins.

“Thanks for the desk,” he tells her, which is a nice nod to a scene from last year when Benson offered Bruno that desk.

Rollins tags along when Benson goes to interview a runaway bride, who tells them she was raped on the night before her wedding by a man who climbed through a window at her parents’ house, where she was staying.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 25
Rollins hopped right back into detective mode to assist Benson and her team after a bride confided in them that she had been raped the night before her wedding.Virginia Sherwood / NBC

Rollins continues to interview the woman once they arrive at the hospital for her to get a rape kit done and continues working the case. Benson later tells Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (Ice-T) that Rollins may technically still be a cop, and they should check the paperwork she filed before she left so she can continue helping them.

“It’s like she never missed a beat,” Benson says about Rollins’ assistance so far.

After DNA from the bride’s rape kit comes back with a match to another unsolved assault from a few months ago, the squad realizes the suspect is likely a serial rapist who targets brides.

In what appears to be another step to getting Rollins back on the team, Fin takes her to the shooting range.

“So, is this the department making me requalify, or you, Fin?” she asks him.

“You want your gun back to work this case or not?” he responds.

Rollins tells Fin “not to read too much” into her involvement, as she’s only been unemployed for a few days.

The team eventually pieces the clues together and realizes their suspect likely works for a flower wholesaler.

Benson suggests Rollins and Carisi go undercover as a couple getting married the next day.

When they do, Carisi makes sure their suspect working at the flower mart overhears that he and Rollins will be sleeping separately that night.

Carisi helps Rollins put on her wire in anticipation of their suspect’s impending visit to her.

Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins, Peter Scanavino as A.D.A Dominick "Sonny" Carisi Jr., Louis Vanaria as Flower Manager
Recently married Rollins and Carisi had no problem playing an undercover soon-to-be-married couple.Virginia Sherwood / NBC

“You’ve got this spark in your eye,” Carisi tells her. “I haven’t seen it since you left SVU.”

“It’s been a long time,” Rollins responds. “I am kind of excited about this.”

Carisi leaves Rollins alone and reassures her that he’ll be right outside.

Rollins charms the flower deliverer suspect to stay for a drink and is able to get his DNA, which ends up being a match to the DNA from the previous cases.

One of the victims is able to positively identify the suspect after hearing his voice during a lineup, and Benson and Carisi get a confession during interrogation.

Afterward, Carisi credits Rollins for their successful outcome during a conversation with Benson.

“I guess if she wanted to come back to SVU, I’d figure out a way to be OK with it,” Carisi says.

Benson tells him she thinks Rollins is “looking for something new.”

Then Benson visits Rollins and brings her a chipmunk in a glass display case — an item that had been on Rollins’ desk for years. It also made an appearance in the Season 24 episode “Jumped In,” when Benson, still upset by Rollins’ recent departure, told Fin to move the forgotten chipmunk out of sight to the breakroom.

“I think Bruno was getting a little bit creeped out by it,” Benson says to Rollins, as she returns the chipmunk to her friend. “Unless, of course, you left it on your old desk for a reason.”

“Maybe an excuse to come back?” Benson adds.

“So are you saying you don’t want me back?” Rollins responds.

Benson says even if she did, she doesn’t have an opening.

“That’s just my luck — I’m finally available, and you’re not understaffed,” Rollins says.

Benson says it’s about more than an opening and it's about where she belongs in her life.

“I don’t want SVU to be your safety net,” Benson tells her, and encourages her to take some time to figure out what makes her happy and to work on healing herself.

“The truth of the matter is, Liv, I have a little more work to do,” Rollins says.

“You and me both,” Benson replies.

“Law & Order: SVU” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC after “Law & Order” at 8 p.m. and before “Law & Order: Organized Crime” at 10 p.m. The shows all stream the following day on Peacock, which is part of our parent company NBCUniversal.