Law & Order: SVU co-star Demore Barnes, who played Deputy Chief Christian Garland on the long-running series, says he was just as surprised as his fans were about news he won't be returning for season 23.
Neither Barns nor Jamie Gray Hyder, who played Detective Kat Tamin, will be seen in SVU's upcoming season, which kicks off Thursday.
In an Instagram post, in which he acknowledged that, "it's almost every actor's...right of passage just to appear in even one episode of SVU," Barnes addressed his followers regarding the development.
"While I know you were happy that I was here, and that I'm happy that I was here, I also know you're sad and surprised and I am too. I don’t totally know why this happened."
Barnes said he was "so very proud" to portray his character, the first Black person to hold the position of deputy chief of the sex crimes unit. He also heaped praised on the cast and crew, particularly star and executive producer Mariska Hargitay, who he says "spearheaded" his path to series regular.
Referencing series creator Dick Wolf's company, which he also thanked in his post, Barnes said, "I hope that Wolf Entertainment’s leadership, in giving me [the] opportunity [to] amplify vital voice and story, will result in many studios continuing to open doors of opportunities for others to do the same. This must continue."
He closed with, "Chief Garland and I would not have it any other way."