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 (Kelli Giddish) and Carisi (Peter Scanavino).
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 is already 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 Benson (Mariska Hargitay), “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 (Ice-T) and Phoebe’s (Jennifer Esposito) wedding, Garland tells Benson that he’s taking a few days off to get some tests done, which leads viewers to believe that Chief Garland's exit is coming sooner than we think.
Deputy Chief Garland actor Demore Barnes confirmed his series exit ahead of the Season 23 premiere of 'SVU.'
In early September, showrunners announced that both Demore and Jamie Gray Hyder, who plays Detective Katriona “Kat” Azar Tamin, are leaving the series and will make their final appearances in the Season 23 premiere. Both Demore and Jamie expressed that they were just as shocked by the news as viewers and have since addressed their departure from the SVU cast on social media.
Demore, who recently experienced a family tragedy, thanked fans for support as he focuses on his personal life. The SVU actor tweeted a message that read, "Try as we may, there is never a good time for us to bare [sic] or receive bad news," he began. Just prior to filming my final day on the show, my wife and I learned of the death of her dad. So, I will take a few days to prepare my personal statement regarding the show's recent news."
There’s no clear indication of how showrunners will write his character out of the show, but we have a feeling that his exit will likely revolve around his newfound health problems or his potential demotion.
After his short-lived run on the show, fans are sad to see Garland go. But fans will have one last chance to say goodbye in the Season 23 premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which airs on Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.