A downward spiral that Kelli Giddish lobbied for before she even began her Law & Order: SVU run spins completely out of control tonight (NBC, 9/8c), steering Detective Amanda Rollins in a shocking direction — and in turn costing her something she values dearly.
“Honestly, even before I got to New York to do this job [at the start of Season 13], we talked about this character, who she would be and where she would go,” Giddish tells TVLine. “But this episode really goes at it in an aggressive way. I mean, you get to see what rock bottom looks like.”
As seeded in earlier episodes and more so as of late, Rollins is quite susceptible to the gambling bug. And as this week’s whirlwind hour opens, she’s neck-deep in that smokey, underground card room element when her fortunes take a turn for the worse. Well into the red — and worse, made as a cop — she finds herself leveraged into doing some real, bad things for really bad people, digging herself in deeper the more she tries to climb out of her hole.
Upon first reading the script for “Gambler’s Fallacy,” Giddish relates, “I jumped up and down in my dressing room! I love playing that, I love toeing that line. I said to [SVU showrunner Warren Leight] from the very start that I don’t mind if it’s not quite clear if [Rollins] is good or bad, or if she gets in a dangerous spot. Bring it on! I’d much rather play somebody that’s got secrets than someone that’s safe and you know exactly where they’re going.”
That said, even Giddish herself was surprised to see the places her character would go in this episode, which guest-stars Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy) and Sherri Saum (The Fosters) and at one point finds Rollins holding at gunpoint one of the last people you’d expect. “If the audience gasps as much as I did,” the actress offers, “they’re going to be in for a good show.”
Rollins’ rogue actions will reap repercussions — and one of the steepest prices she must pay can be seen in the look of grave disappointment-slash-borderline contempt that Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) gives during a stone-cold confrontation. “Any time you break someone’s trust… for me it’s the most awful feeling, in the whole wide world,” Giddish says. “So to play that scene with Benson… yeah, that was really heavy. But because I trust [Mariska] and she trusts me in real life, we can make ourselves vulnerable to feeling like that.”
All told, Giddish reports, Rollins “gets put through the wringer” over the course of this ordeal, and there’s no telling if she’ll ever be able to reclaim all that she loses. “There’s definitely a long road to redemption,” she ventures, “if not for anybody else, for herself.”