Reddit user jdpm1991 posted a poll of six characters written off the show and asked which ones people missed the most. Rafael Barba won by a landslide victory. The poll sparked a heated discussion about the various lost characters and why people missed them or why they hated how they were written off.
In Barba’s case, he gets involved in a right-to-die case in season 19, leading him to turn off life support for a young boy who wouldn’t have much life if he was attached to machines. Barba is accused of murder. He beats the charges, but eventually resigns as the prosecutor because he is too traumatized to continue. Though Barba returned for a few episodes in later SVU seasons and even appeared in Law & Order: Organized Crime, fans never recovered from how the character’s SVU run ended. Raúl Esparza told Entertainment Weekly it felt “challenging, emotional and surprising,” but fans didn’t agree.
U/crazycatlady9183 responded to the poll by writing: “I absolutely HATE how they wrote Barba off. There were a million better ways to do it, and yet they chose something COMPLETELY out of place. Based on everything his character was built on, he just wouldn’t be someone who kills a child out of mercy. It was absolutely ridiculous and so was the process.”
U/Mariangella007 said: “Barba’s departure was definitely the most painful. Meanwhile, u/kateefab pointed out that even her husband couldn’t take it, noting: “Barbas was so bad that my husband, who has no opinion on this show, thought it was ridiculous. It’s also interesting to look at it from an ethical point of view, but it was still bad.”