Nearly a decade after Elisabeth Röhm’s shocking departure from “Law & Order” in 2005, the actress spoke about her exit in an interview with HuffPost. Per Röhm’s account, “Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf consulted her about how she wished for Southerlyn to go out on the show. “When I was leaving, Dick Wolf said, ‘Do you want a splashy ending or a typical ‘Law & Order’ ending?'” the star recalled. She presumably opted for the former.
As for the last-minute confirmation that Southerlyn was a gay woman, Röhm felt it was intended to be a culmination of prior hints. “It was exciting to have them acknowledge, for me, things I had been playing secretly as a character throughout the years because it was so personal,” Röhm told The Wrap in 2022. “My sister is gay and many of my friends are also and so at that time, going back to the zeitgeist, gay marriage was a really big issue. And nationally, it was front and center. So, that was true to ‘Law & Order.’ It was gritty, it was current.”
Southerlyn hasn’t reappeared since that fateful episode, but Röhm did return to direct an episode of “Law & Order” Season 22. It’s clear that the actress and Southerlyn are important components of “Law & Order’s” lengthy history, but whether fans and Röhm will ever see eye-to-eye on her departure is another story.