“I know you’re sad and surprised — I am, too,” the actor behind Deputy Chief Christian Garland admitted Thursday in an Instagram message to fans, before conceding, “I don’t totally know why this has happened.”
As reported on Sept. 3, both Barnes and co-star Jamie Gray Hyder, who plays detective Kat Tamin, will make their final appearance in SVU‘s Season 23 premiere on Thursday, Sept. 23. The pair joined the cast in Season 21 on a recurring basis, and then were upped to series regulars for Season 22.
Barnes added that he was “so very proud to have played the first Black deputy chief in SVU history.” He also expressed gratitude to his colleagues, both in front of and behind the camera, specifically crediting leading lady Mariska Hargitay for “spearheading my shift to series regular” last season.
For her part, Hyder also expressed confusion about her SVU exit, telling fans via Twitter earlier this month, “The decision was made above my pay grade and wouldn’t have been my choice. But hey, that’s showbiz for ya.” Along with her message, the actress wrote the following caption: “Kat’s outta the bag… #SVU23 Just got a lot less colorful.”