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‘Law & Order SVU’: Ice-T Taught Kelli Giddish an Important Lesson About TV Acting

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Law & Order SVU brought newcomer Kelli Giddish on board to play the passionate detective Amanda Rollins. Giddish already had some acting experience under her belt, but performing a network show like SVU was still pretty new. She had a bit of help adjusting to the world of television from her co-star Ice-T.

Kelli Giddish once described her first experiences shooting ‘Law & Order’

Giddish had already built quite a portfolio before her 12-year run as Amanda Rollins. She already had a recurring role in the television show All My Children. She also starred in a few films such as Witches of the Caribbean, and at one point was even poised to lead her own television series. Eventually, after Meloni’s departure from SVU, she was asked to help fill in the hole Meloni’s absence would leave behind.

“I had a meeting with someone in the Dick Wolf Productions arena, and then they pulled me out to come screen test,” she recalled in an interview with Smashing. “I was living in Los Angeles at the time. I had just finished a show called Chase. It was on for a season, and I was the lead on that. It was such a great time, and I was figuring out what I wanted to do next. I got a call that Chris Meloni was leaving the show, and they were looking for maybe a male and a female to step in his shoes at Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Being on the show would’ve required Giddish, who was born and raised in Georgia, to commit to New York. But this wasn’t an issue for the actor, as she enjoyed the city.

“I’d lived in New York, and I loved New York, so I came out here to screen test. I did the screen test with Mariska with Dick Wolf watching. Now, 11 seasons later, I can’t believe I’ve been on the show for 11 years,” she said.

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Still, even with her TV background, there were certain things about SVU she had to get used to. In one instance, her on-screen partner Ice-T would give her a small but valuable lesson in filmmaking.

“I hadn’t done a lot of TV before I got the gig. I was on a soap opera, but it wasn’t like in my wheelhouse and in my body to know how to do it,” she told IndieWire not too long ago. “And I remember them saying, ‘Cut, cut, cut.’ You know, they were doing my coverage. They were like, ‘Yeah, so be on your mark.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m pretty on it.’ And they were like, ‘No, no. You have to be on your mark. Like on it.’ And Ice goes, ‘Kelli, whenever I’m on my mark, I just hear the money going into my pocket. And when I’m off my mark, I hear it going outta my pocket.’ So that was a quick crash course in acting by Ice-T.”

Why Kelli Giddish left ‘Law & Order’ SVU

SVU fans recently had to say their goodbyes to Giddish after a decade of playing Amanda Rollins. Giddish’ character would decide to use her experience in law enforcement to educate other future detectives full time as an agent. She and the show’s team felt this was a natural conclusion for Amanda Rollins’ journey.

“That was always a really big part of Amanda, that she really was wanting to focus on why people do what they do. In the midst of all these horrible storylines, she was really asking, ‘Why do people do such bad things to each other?’ And for her to go into an academic setting and actually be able to explore that I think is really cool. Just to get to go and actually imagine her playing that part of herself out and satisfying that itch in her brain, to really delve into the psychology,” she said.

As for why she decided to leave, Giddish simply confided that it was a gut feeling.

“My side of things is just that it’s time in the Rollins storyline. I felt like where it was heading, and where it headed last night, just seemed the right place to leave it right now,” Giddish told Variety.

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Source: Cheat Sheet

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