How ‘SVU’ Said Goodbye to Rollins in Kelli Giddish’s Last Episode (RECAP)

Peter Scanavino Kelli Giddish Law & Order: SVU
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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

And a Trauma in a Pear Tree

Season 24 • Episode 9

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 9 “And a Trauma in a Pear Tree.”]

For Detective Amanda Rollins, in Kelli Giddish‘s last episode, the plan is to leave the squad to teach forensic psychology at a local university, and the SVU promo teased her and ADA Dominick “Sonny” Carisi’s (Peter Scanavino) wedding. But things don’t always go as planned. So do they in this instance?

Giddish’s final episode begins with a happy morning for Rollins and Carisi; her daughters run in to wake them up, looking forward to Christmas. And while everyone’s minds are on an upcoming trial, that’s not why Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Sergeant Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (Ice T), and Detective Joe Velasco (Octavio Pisano) have to rush to a courtroom. Once they arrive, they find out that Rollins and Carisi are getting married!

“Carisi and I were talking and we realized marriage is a lot like a crime. We have motive and opportunity,” Rollins says. Carisi adds, “and figured that all we needed were witnesses.” She then explains, “we didn’t want to do this without any of you here.” After the wedding, everyone gathers for a reception (which is when they find out Carisi’s mom is also planning a “real wedding” on Staten Island).

And it’s then that Benson finds out what the “Christmas project” is that has kept her son Noah (Ryan Buggle) busy on his phone: Connor McCann (Tre Ryder), his big brother, wants to meet him. Like any “self-respecting parent,” as Benson puts it, she has Fin look into Connor’s entire family. (His parents don’t know the truth about Connor’s father, Johnny D.) And since he doesn’t find anything, she can’t put off letting Noah meet what he calls “the only real family I have.”

Mariska Hargitay and Kelli Giddish in 'Law & Order: SVU'

Scott Gries/NBC

The boys hit it off, and Noah asks Benson if he can sleep over. Benson looks wary but she agrees. When she gets to the motel in town, she gets a “pervy” vibe off the desk clerk, Troy, then spots a hidden camera in her room. Rollins, with some free time with Carisi busy with the Elias Olsen trial and needing to talk to Benson about Fordham, offers to drive up to help. And she has great timing, too; she arrives just as Connor’s parents, Matt (Gregory Abbey) and Ginny (Anna Belknap), are asking Benson about his birth father and she gets only so far as to warn them it’s “not a Christmas story.”

Benson and Rollins arrest Troy after catching him watching the video from the hidden camera. But it was his cousin who installed the cameras, and so Benson and Rollins stake out the bar he frequents. While waiting, Benson tells Rollins about the McCanns asking about Connor’s birth father. She’ll tell them what they can find on the internet, she’s decided. As for Noah, he doesn’t know everything yet, but that may have to change, depending on what Connor finds out. Rollins assures her he can handle it with her in his corner, but Benson admits she’s not sure she can.

It’s after they lure Ray in and arrest him that Benson and Rollins have the important talk. But before Rollins gets into telling her boss and friend about her job offer, she asks the question many have been wondering about: What about Benson and Stabler?!

“Can I tell you how nice it is to see you happy?” Benson asks, which prompts Rollins (who might change her name!) to turn it around on her with, “it’s so nice to allow myself. When are you going to do the same?” With? Stabler, Rollins says. “I did feel like Stabler was my home, but he left me, Amanda, and I’m not over it. And the thing is is that I didn’t have a right or a claim. He’s somebody else’s husband,” Benson explains.

“He was your partner,” Rollins points out. “And I know this sounds crazy, but sometimes I think it would almost be easier …” Benson admits, and Rollins gets it: if Kathy hadn’t died.

“With her gone, it’s like there’s nothing but possibility, which is paralyzing,” Benson explains. If things don’t go well, she’d lose their friendship. But fortunately, she has Rollins … right? The detective remembers that wasn’t always the case. “You wouldn’t let me in,” Benson explains. “Now you let me into everything.” And so Rollins tells her about the job offer. “You taught me how to love myself, to let people in — victims, Carisi. This is hard for me,” she explains. “I made this choice. I need you to be OK with it.” Benson doesn’t take it well, and Rollins leaves to get ice … and never returns to the motel room.

It’s not until Benson’s back at work that she sees Rollins again. And yes, the detective is now going to be a professor and she’s happy about it. Rollins apologizes for leaving like she did, while Benson says she’s sorry for the way she reacted. “You were being open with me, and I shut down,” she says. But “you’re not losing me,” Rollins promises. “We’re friends, that’s not going to change, I’m not going to disappear.”

Benson understands, but “if you ever want to come back…” With that, the two share an emotional farewell, hugging and saying “I love you.” And Rollins also wants Benson to take her own “don’t postpone joy” advice. Then all that’s left is for the rest of the squad to say their goodbyes to Rollins as well.

So what did you think of how SVU wrote out Rollins? Let us know in the comments below.

Law & Order: SVU, Winter Premiere, Thursday, January 5, 9/8c, NBC