The post-season departures continue this week, and this one sucks almost as much as the Edelstein annoucement: Law and Order: Special Victims Unit lead Christopher Meloni has announced he won’t be returning for a 13th series of the highly popular franchise. At this time, there’s no further comment, nor has a reason for his departure been given, however the deal for Meloni’s co-star Mariska Hargitay is unaffected and she is expected to return for a full season.
Debuting in 1999, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit was the first spin-off of the decade old Law and Order series, and has arguably enjoyed more popularity than it’s predecessor. Meloni had been the series lead since it’s debut as Detective Elliot Stabler, a detective whose personal beliefs and struggles have sometimes caused him to the step over the line when handling the criminals they pursued. Recently, with concerns that Hargitay may be leaving, Jennifer Love Hewitt was considered as a replacement; there’s no word yet as to who is considered to replace Meloni.