After the departure of ADA Cabot, SVU brought in Diane Neal (who is now running for Congress!) as ADA Casey Novak. Neal’s ADA Novak appeared from 2003-2008, but in season nine the character violated due process and was facing punishment for the violation. She returned in season 12, revealing she was only censured for her infraction, but was then re-hired by the District Attorney’s office. The character also returned in season 13.
Rumors about Neal’s original departure from the series swirled at the time of her exit, with talk of a firing as a possible reason. “Diane spent five years on SVU and was a tremendous addition to the SVU team. She is looking forward to new opportunities and she will be missed,” a spokesperson for the show said at the time.
However, TV Guide reported Neal told the crew she was fired, but she didn’t confirm. “Rumors are rumors,” she shrugs. “I love the crew. The crew loves me. We’ve really gotten along and bonded over these past five years. And they’re always looking out for me and watching my back.”