The gemara in Brachoth emphasizes the importance of semichat ge'ulah l'tefilla (adjoining redemption to prayer):
דאמר ר' יוחנן איזהו בן העולם הבא זה הסומך גאולה לתפלה של ערבית...
... For R' Yochanan said: Who will inherit the world to come? He who joins the Ge'ulah to the evening Tefillah.
The Gemara then asks how R' Yochanan can say it is a requirement if we say "Hashkiveinu..." between Ge'ulah and Shemoneh Esrei and answers:
כיון דתקינו רבנן למימר השכיבנו כגאולה אריכתא דמיא
Since the Rabbis instituted the prayer "Hashkiveynu..." it is to be considered part of Ge'ulah.
The Maharal (Nethiv HaAvodah chapter 7 [p. 96 in old version]) explains that ge'ulah is the blessing instituted with reference to redemption (connected to the words [Exodus 6:7] "ולקחתי אתכם לי לעם" - "and I will take you to Me as a people", whereas "hashkiveynu relates to the maintenance of the redeemed state (i.e. protection, connected to the continuing words "והייתי לכם לאלקים" - "and I will be to you as G-d").
The implication from the gemara is pretty clear that there were no other interruptions allowed between geulah and tefilla. Nonetheless, there is a controversial custom dating to the time of the Geonim (or earlier) to recite verses at this point (argued to be a relic of when it replaced the Shemoneh Esrei in the tefillah betzibbur). I believe many authorities do not say these verses for the reason of the gemara, and that that is the custom of eretz yisrael following the GR"A. Nonetheless, I have never personally witnessed a minyan that omitted the kaddish between hashkiveinu and shemoneh esrei.
I was wondering if such a custom does exist in any community of not saying anything at all between hashkiveinu and shemoneh esrei.
Also, I believe certain halachik authorities (e.g. Rav Herschel Schachter of YU, if memory serves) do not say these verses (or the verses added on Shabbath and Yom Tov) even when the congregation does. Is there a point in this omission if one then answers the kaddish? Do these authorities also refrain from answering the kaddish?
Finally, mefarshim grapple with defending the continuing custom of saying these verses and suggest that perhaps they too can be considered a geulah arichta (Tosafoth cited in Mishna Berura 236:6). Is this assumed to be the only argument for saying kaddish as well? Is there any explanation then for the customs of omitting the former but not the latter?