‘Law & Order’ Star Pens Letter to Fans After Brutal Backlash Over Kathy Stabler

Isabel Gillies as Kathy Stabler in Law & Order SVU

You don’t have to be a fan of Law & Order: SVU (or its spinoff Organized Crime) to know that there are passionate fans out there who wanted (and still want) the relationship between former partners Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) to cross that line. And since the latter returned to the world of Law & Order, it does seem like the episodes are teasing that turn coming.

But Stabler was also married for most of his time on SVU — he and Kathy (Isabel Gillies) did split but reunited — until the crossover that kicked off his show. In it, Kathy was killed off after a car bomb went off. Even as she was dying in the hospital, the focus was on Benson and Stabler reuniting after 10 years. Then came the letter he’d written her, one that was hanging over everyone’s heads until the September 30 three-hour crossover. As we learned its contents, it was revealed that it was actually Kathy who wrote it. And the actress who played her, Gillies, has penned a letter of her own detailing the nasty backlash she’s received on social media (which she notes didn’t exist when she first joined the series) as a result.

“My feed, which is normally pretty sleepy, a retweeted article here, a few shoutouts about a recipe there, was a stream of eye-popping-bile posts, at me! My character, the deceased Kathy Stabler, was trending on Twitter,” Gillies wrote. “Gliding over links and threads, memes and emojis, I started, well, crying. ‘KATHY STABLER IS BURNING IN THE DEEPEST PART OF HELL.’ Scroll, scroll…’YOU DESERVE TO BLOW UP!’ Scroll, scroll…’Good morning to absolutely everyone except Kathy Stabler’s ghost.’ Scroll, scroll… ‘This girl is the nastiest, skank bitch I’ve ever met!'”

Gillies went on to note that she knows there’s “been a love story between Elliot and Mariska Hargitay’s character, Olivia Benson. It started as a simmer and has been heading toward a rolling boil.” However, even though Kathy is dead, “she’s still smack in the middle of it. And there was this letter which to this day, I still don’t know what the heck was in it – truth – I don’t care,” she continued.

“I called Mariska. Do you get this? Mariska is one of the most empathetic, loving people on this earth. Hard to imagine she has much experience with vitriol, but sadly, she’s had plenty of it,” Gillies wrote, adding she chose to accept “her invitation to the higher road called, don’t-take-it-personally.” Read the entire letter here.

Following Gillies sharing her letter, Meloni, Hargitay, and showrunner Warren Leight retweeted it. “I love my wife @isabelgillies,” Meloni added to his retweet. “I’m so sorry that you had to go through any of this sweet Isabel,” Hargitay wrote.

“I’m so sorry @IsabelGillies — a truly gracious, wonderful person — was subjected to abuse by this toxic corner of our SVU/OC fan base,” Leight added. “She is not her character, her character is no longer alive, and the scene on OC was written and shot without her involvement. Please stop.”

The letter in question was revealed after Stabler was drugged during his undercover op. It was Kathy’s idea, he revealed to Benson, and she helped dictate. Everything about how “what we were to each other was never real and that we got in the way of each other being who and where we needed to be?” Benson asked. That was Kathy. “And if there was a man in my life, you hope he’s the kind, faithful, devoted man I deserved?” Also Kathy. The part that Stabler wrote himself: “But in a parallel universe, it will always be you and I.”

For now, there doesn’t seem to be a reason why Kathy had to be the one to write the letter — especially considering she was killed off — except to create drama and try to stall what seems to be an inevitable (at this point) romance between Benson and Stabler.

Whatever happens, the best course of action is to follow what Gillies wrote in her letter: “There is the acronym T.H.I.N.K. Is it thoughtful? is it honest? Is it interesting? Is it necessary? Is it kind? I’m going to try to put everything I say or write through this little fail-safe.”

Law & Order: SVU, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC

Law & Order: Organized Crime, Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC