The dramatic final episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’s Season 22 included some major twists and turns, a potential wedding, and the start of the long-awaited romance between Rollins (Kelly Giddish) and Carisi (Peter Scavino).
But on a less romantic front, Deputy Chief Christian Garland (Demore Barnes) is in big trouble after being deposed for the Jayvon Brown case. After the deposition, Garland also showed some signs indicating that his health might also be in jeopardy. So, what’s going on with Chief Garland? Is actor Demore Barnes being set up to leave SVU?
Is Deputy Chief Garland leaving the SVU squad?
After just three seasons on the show, the charismatic and forthright Deputy Chief Garland might already be showing signs of leaving. Actor Demore Barnes joined the rest of the SVU cast in 2019 and was quickly promoted to series regular for Season 22.
Garland has been a breath of fresh air on the force, bringing a fresh perspective and levelheadedness while navigating the political minefields of New York City’s police department. But after Season 22’s finale, many fans are wondering whether the actor is already being set up to leave.
In the episode “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing,” Chief Garland is deposed for the Jayvon Brown case. Fans will recall the episode “Guardians and Gladiators” in which Jayvon, a Black man, was arrested for murder with no real evidence against him, which later led him to sue the NYPD.
What did Chief McGrath say?
While under oath, Chief Garland goes against the grain of the department and apologizes for the systemic racism that led to Jayvon’s arrest. But admitting that the police have a problem with racism gets Garland in trouble with his higher-ups, and later we see Chief McGrath (Terry Serpico) tearing Garland a new one, criticizing his lack of loyalty and his work as the head of SVU.
Garland is also pretty much shunned by his peers and ultimately learns that "the old guard" of the NYPD is working to oust him from his position. However, he’s not going down without a fight. As he tells Olivia, “Whatever they try, I’m not going to go quietly.”
Deputy Chief Garland might also be dealing with some health issues.
But making things even more ominous in terms of Garland’s potential departure is the fact that Olivia and Carisi at one point notice Garland grabbing his chest, which suggests some sort of heart issue. Later, at Fin and Phoebe’s wedding, Garland tells Olivia that he’s taking a few days off to get some tests done.
There’s no clear indication of whether Garland will be back as a regular for Season 23 or if he’s going to be demoted to a recurring character. The show’s IMDb page also provides no clues as to whether he’ll be back for the Season 23 premiere since no official cast details are listed as of this writing.
After the events of the finale, there’s plenty more for Garland to bring to the squad. But viewers will just have to wait for Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit to return for Season 23 to see if the chief sticks around.