After How Law And Order: SVU Brought Back Kelli Giddish As Amanda Rollins, I’ve Changed My Mind About Benson’s Current Squad

All it took is one episode of Rollins.

Amanda Rollins talking to Olivia Benson in Kelli Giddish's return to Law & Order: SVU Season 25x11

(Image credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 11 of Law & Order: SVU Season 25, called “Prima Nocta.”

The milestone 25th season of Law & Order: SVU is nearly at its end, but the latest episode felt much more like a classic than the show continuing to try something new… and I mean that in the best way. While I’ve had plenty of enthusiasm for how Benson has expanded her squad in the 2024 TV schedule, the return of Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins changed my mind before “Prima Nocta” was even half over, and it’s all because of how SVU brought her back this time around as opposed to her first episode this year.

In her appearance in the Season 25 premiere, Kelli Giddish felt more like she was making cameos rather than properly guest-starring, but that wasn’t the case in “Prima Nocta.” In fact, it felt like she hadn’t left the NYPD at all, to the point that multiple characters were referring to her as “Detective” and Benson asked Fin to check if the paperwork had ever even gone through on Rollins leaving the force. She was empathizing with victims, chatting with Benson, and thoroughly reminding me of why it was such a bummer to lose her back in Season 24.

Of course, I was bound to be a fan of the episode after it opened on the Rollisi household, complete with confirmation that Rollins’ daughters still call Carisi “daddy” now and that their son is, in fact, completely adorable. “Prima Nocta” established early on that Rollins is happy with her family life, but was so unenthusiastic about her teaching job that she chose to pass up a tenure position to quit altogether. It felt like SVU was soft-launching Rollins back into a series regular slot with the NYPD, and that was just fine with me. The episode even ended in a way that didn’t rule it out.

So, why did loving having Kelli Giddish back as Rollins flip my opinion on other elements of Season 25? Well, the unit was operating quite smoothly with Rollins back in the fold, even though it was the first time she’d worked with Bruno and Captain Curry in Special Victims, and it made me realized that SVU really didn’t need to reinvent the squad by kinda sorta adding an FBI agent and bringing in a second NYPD captain. The classic format kept the show going for 25 years; why quit now?

After How Law And Order: SVU Brought Back Kelli Giddish As Amanda Rollins, I've  Changed My Mind About Benson's Current Squad

Admittedly, the fundamental reason why I was so on board with the squad including Curry and Agent Sykes was because it had bothered me ever since Muncy was written out that Benson was the only woman in a unit that primarily deals with especially heinous crimes against women. In fact, “Prima Nocta” even reminded me why it feels more realistic for female victims to feel more comfortable opening up to women, as was the case more than once in Rollins’ episode back.

Earlier this year, I was thrilled when Benson bent the rules to bring in Curry and I decided not to overthink Sykes joining up. Having Rollins back was just a reminder of what Special Victims could be like without bending rules or stretching suspension of disbelief, and if I had to choose between getting Rollins back and keeping the two newer additions, I’d go with Rollins. Curry can’t stay working under another captain forever anyway, right? She could still drop by from time to time!

Now, I’m not so starry-eyed about getting Rollins back for an episode that I think “Prima Nocta” was a perfect episode, because I still don’t really see how/when the character became an expert profiler, and it was a stretch that she could just pop back into the NYPD. The perp’s motive also felt a little underbaked to me, but I’m pretty confident this will go down as one of my favorite episodes of Season 25.

Law & Order: SVU Boss Confirms Major Reveal for Benson and Stabler Shippers  in Upcoming Episode

So, could Rollins come back to the NYPD in Season 26, since SVU has already been renewed? Benson herself pointed out in “Prima Nocta” that she doesn’t have a free desk at the moment, and Rollins still has some introspection to do. Carisi floated the idea early on that she could become an investigator for the DA’s office, but I’m not sure that’s a real option. A lot may depend on whether SVU could bring Kelli Giddish back into the cast.

For now, you can keep catching new episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, and revisit earlier days streaming. All 25 seasons so far are available with a Peacock Premium subscription, while the first 24 are streaming via Hulu subscription.



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