The Season 22 finale of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit left audiences on the edge of their seats, and thankfully Season 23 is right around the corner. Surprisingly and unfortunately, during the two-hour premiere, Detective Katriona “Kat” Azar (Jamie Gray Hyder) and Deputy Chief Christian Garland (Demore Barnes) will take their final bow. The season finale, in a way, kind of set up a potential exit for Garland, but definitely not a happy one.
Garland was deposed for the Javyon Brown case — the man who was wrongly accused of assault and filed a lawsuit against the NYPD. Garland went on the record and apologized for the systemic racism that was going on within the force and voiced the need for bias training — but his department didn't appreciate that. He could get pushed out of his job and be forced to retire early. Also, fans did see him grabbing his chest during the finale, and he said he needed to have some tests ran.
Maybe he'll need to step down from his position due to the stress and his heath. As for Kat exiting the series, nothing hinted that she was planning on leaving the SVU. According to TV Insider, Part 2 of the premiere reveals that Kat and Sergeant Fin Tutuola (Ice-T) end up “down a dangerous path” while conducting an investigation. Maybe Kat will get killed in the line of duty, or perhaps she will leave the unit due to what happens during the case. Here’s what we know about why they're leaving the show.
Why are Kat and Garland leaving 'SVU'?
Kat and Garland were introduced to viewers in Season 21 as recurring characters, and both were promoted to series regulars for Season 22, so they haven't had particularly long runs on the show. Deadline was the first to report the news of Jamie Gray Hyder and Demore Barnes' departure in Season 23. On Sept. 4, Jamie took to social media to address the news of her departing the series, and according to her, she wasn't the one to decide to leave.
On her Instagram page, she wrote, "Kat's outta the bag #SVU23 just got a lot less colorful. It is with a heavy heart that I confirm Kat's departure from the squad room. The decision was made above my pay grade, and wouldn't have been my choice, but hey -- that's show biz for ya. To anyone who felt represented by any part of Kat's being or mission, please know that you will always have representation in me."
She added, "Thanks to the SVUniverse for welcoming me with open arms. It's been an experience that I have grown from greatly and will never forget."
According to Entertainment Weekly, NBC declined to comment when they reached out to the network to find out why Jamie had been let go from the show.
Demore also shared a message with fans on his social media. He told his fans he'd talk to everyone soon because he and his family are mourning the death of his wife's father. He shared, "Try as we may, there is never a good time for any of us to bare [sic] or receive bad news. 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."
We can't wait for the new season, but they will both be incredibly missed. Hopefully, any future statement from Demore could shed some light on what happened.
Law & Order: SVU returns for Season 23 on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC for a special two-hour episode.