Law & Order: SVU‘s upcoming 23rd season will start with two important characters leaving the series.
Jamie Gray Hyder and Demore Barnes, who play Officer Kat Tamin and Deputy Chief Christian Garland respectively, will be written off in the 23rd season despite the characters just being added the season prior, according to Deadline.
Even more egregious about their exits is that their characters were added during the height of the media’s response to 2020’s racial reckoning following the spate of Black death during the spring and summer, most notably George Floyd’s murder. Garland, for instance, is a deputy chief who apologized to New York citizens for inherent bias and racism within the NYPD and sought to reform the department despite the police’s old guard coming for him. Tamin, on the other hand, is the second LGBTQ character for the series and the first LGBTQ officer in the series’ history.
TV Insider has more details on what fans could possibly expect about Barnes and Tamin’s upcoming departures. As far as Garland is concerned, Barnes will face repercussions from unrepentant police brass due to Barnes’ insistence on changing the department. The fictional case that drove the 22nd season, a case involving a man named Jayvon Brown who was falsely accused of assault and later sued the NYPD, will come to a head as Garland is “visibly shunned” by other officers and targeted by others within the department. He might also have a health concern, since scenes seem to suggest Garland might have a heart attack or some type of heart-related illness.
While Garland might be forced to retire, Tamin could have a worse outcome. While working with Ice-T‘s Fin Tutuola, Tamin is shown going “down a dangerous path” during an investigation. TV Insider postures that Tamin could be killed in action or could transfer to another unit from the results of the case.
Regardless, the departures of two impactful characters could point to a story reversal from Law & Order: SVU. If the show does abandon these characters and their forward-thinking storylines, it could make it appear as if stories about police reform were just a fad instead of a necessary and responsible use of an international platform.