NBC's 'Law & Order: SVU' and 'Chicago Med' bid farewell to stars

  • Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins appears in her final weekly episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Thursday, Dec. 8, on NBC.

    Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins appears in her final weekly episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Thursday, Dec. 8, on NBC. Courtesy of NBC

  • Ethan Choi (Brian Tee), who has been a fixture on NBC's "Chicago Med," is leaving the show. Wednesday, Dec. 7, is his last episode.

    Ethan Choi (Brian Tee), who has been a fixture on NBC's "Chicago Med," is leaving the show. Wednesday, Dec. 7, is his last episode. Courtesy of NBC

 
By Jay Bobbin
Gracenote
Posted12/6/2022 6:00 AM

Two well-established dramas are saying goodbye to one star each.

It's nothing new for a long-running series to lose a prominent cast member -- and, often, more than one over time -- but it's noteworthy that two of executive producer Dick Wolf's NBC dramas are bidding farewell to major players within a day of each other. Brian Tee signs off as "Chicago Med's" Dr. Ethan Choi in what he has called an "amazing" episode airing Wednesday, Dec. 7. Then, Kelli Giddish marks her final turn (at least weekly) as Detective Amanda Rollins on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Thursday, Dec. 8.

 
Brian Tee appears in his final weekly episode of "Chicago Med" Wednesday, Dec. 7, on NBC.
Brian Tee appears in his final weekly episode of "Chicago Med" Wednesday, Dec. 7, on NBC. - Courtesy of NBC

Tee was off "Chicago Med" for a significant amount of time last season while filming the forthcoming Prime Video series "Expats" with Nicole Kidman. During his absence, Dr. Choi recuperated from being shot and displayed residual effects upon his return, possibly setting up a cue to his exit. (Tee is expected to be back as a "Med" director.)

Increased family time and the pursuit of other acting chances reportedly are the main reasons for Tee's departure, but he has enjoyed some strong stories during his "Med" tenure. Besides the shooting, Choi had a challenging romance with nurse April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta, who returned for several episodes this season), and he also clashed with Dr. Dean Archer (Steven Weber) over running the hospital's emergency department (which Archer now supervises, after Choi stepped down as chief).

Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins appears in her final weekly episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Thursday, Dec. 8, on NBC.
Kelli Giddish as Detective Amanda Rollins appears in her final weekly episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Thursday, Dec. 8, on NBC. - Courtesy of NBC
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By many accounts, it wasn't Giddish's idea to leave "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," which she has been with since 2011 (after playing a different role as a guest on the series earlier). Rollins has had an eventful time in her final stretch on the show, committing to a relationship with former colleague turned assistant district attorney Sonny Carisi (Peter Scanavino) and recovering from being shot in the current season's premiere.

The latter crisis was just one of many that Rollins has experienced during her "Special Victims Unit" run. Hailing from a dysfunctional family, she also was shot earlier, and was manipulated by her younger sister into killing the latter's abusive beau. A victim of sexual assault herself, Rollins dealt with a gambling addiction, and she endured a difficult labor with her first daughter.

Though others evidently made the call on ending her "L&O: SVU" tenure, Giddish has been gracious in her public reaction. On social media, she has commented, "Playing Rollins has been one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life. I've been so fortunate to be a part of the 'Law & Order' family for the last 12 years. There is simply no other character on TV like Rollins. She has grown and changed, and I have as well."

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