Law enforcement both real and fictional have been calculated in recent years, albeit a baffling one. Many wonder, after the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, if the police show is over. Law & Order: Organized Crime bankrupted its host Craig Gore amid controversial Facebook comments about the 2020 protests (the show has since had five presenters during its three-season tenure). And yet, last year the original Law & Order resurrected, and sister Chicago PD Law enforcement franchises are going strong, so it looks like police gigs are doubling down.
However, police programs no longer exist apolitically, and Laws & Orders: Special Victims Unit actress Kelli Giddish appears to have been a victim of the Law & Order shake-up, with her departure announced in advance. SVUThe 24th season premieres on Thursday. But this writer won’t miss Giddish’s Detective Amanda Rollins and her legacy of victim-blaming and prostitution, and her departure shows just how far the Law & Order universe has to go.
This is not a celebration of actress Kelli Giddish leaving Laws & Orders: Special Victims Unit – which not in her own way. Giddish’s Amanda Rollins enters the Dick Wolf TV universe as a member of SVUThe show’s elite lineup for the show’s 13th season following the departure of Detective Elliot Stabler is equally problematic for Chris Meloni (who has now returned to the role in Organized Crime, as well as numerous cameos in the spin-off that made him famous). And she’s quickly (and often) becoming an example of the limits of police gigs to truly protecting and serving their communities. She’s judgmental, reproachful, and perhaps more conservative than we know, if her defense of a political pundit like Ann Coulter in episode 19 of “Info Wars” is any indication.
In later seasons, we discover that Rollins was raped by her former captain in Atlanta, who assaulted another lieutenant in the season 16 episode “Forgive Rollins.” “She’s going to get through it,” Rollins said grudgingly, clearly projecting her own trauma to the survivor because that’s what Rollins himself had to do. It’s a reaction when faced with how SVU was received at that time, as a kind fulfill the wish of justice for survivors hoping their attacks are treated with the same care as NBC’s weekly heinous felon detectives, but especially Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), patron saint of rape avengers.
When compared to Benson, forgiving Rollins after that is tough, even with all the baggage we’ve come to learn about her, especially when it involves her older sister, Kim angry, played by Lindsay Pulsipher with frustration. Having such chaotic relatives makes Rollins cute and sympathetic. However, her story is always poorly written and allows the reader the least charity as she is a character that prevents her from growing, with a twin superiority complex that seems to have risen above the family. her toxic but always regressing.
While we sympathize with Rollins and understand why she sometimes questionably answers survivors she considers not behaving properly, she doesn’t do her job with that empathy. A half-hearted storyline about her going to therapy to get over her toxic upbringing ended with her being held hostage (and that was it). The episode that made me feel completely uncomfortable with the character was “Service” of season 19, when Rollins questioned why SVU “for[s] a damn” about sex workers being assaulted. For a detective tasked with bringing rapists to justice to have such regimes for a group of people between 45% to 75% chance of sexual violence at workAccording to the Urban Justice Center, is sick.
And there Rollins represents the uphill battle SVU and its brethren are still doing badly. The show’s “ripping off the title” scheme doesn’t always allow enough distance from these believable crimes against SVU to process them with the sensitivity they guarantee (that is a problem with the true crime genre in general). SVU have the opportunity to change the way it presents policy by the end of 2020 of the 22nd season back; however, many would argue that the damage the franchise has done to policy perception over the course of two decades cannot be undone in a few months. That’s right, the first episode of season 22 about the white woman Amy Cooper calling the black birdwatcher Christian Cooper (no relation) in the Ramble section of Central Park happened on the same day. With the murder of George Floyd, not trying to dissect that summer’s racial calculus with any care made the survivors fall in love with the show. With SVU solve the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp case in the upcoming 24th season and with overturning Roe v. Wade early this year, the show will likely include multiple plot lines extracted from the titles into its schema.
Detective Rollins no SVUthe only problem of; she’s just one part of a broader problem with police and law enforcement performances on a broader scale. She was protected from ever having to grow up and learn from her mistakes. Getting rid of her won’t solve everything Law & Order problem, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.