TV Line is reporting that Christopher Meloni has decided not to return to Law And Order: Special Victims Unit in its upcoming thirteenth season, thereby ending Meloni’s run as Detective Elliot Stabler, a role he’s held since the show’s debut episode. In an outcome reminiscent of Lisa Edelstein’s recent last-minute walkout on House, contract negotiations between Meloni and NBC broke down today, with Meloni eventually opting to call it quits—something that seems to be causing some surprise, despite the fact that Meloni said a year ago he was planning to bail after 12 seasons. Anyway, creator Dick Wolf is said to already be looking for a replacement Meloni (Has he considered Elias Koteas?) to come and star opposite Mariska Hargitay, although some are speculating this could be just the first domino to fall in an eventual total cast replacement, as Jennifer Love-Hewitt has been rumored to replace Hargitay in mid-season. Soon enough there could be a whole new generation of character actors holding your hand through horrible sexual assaults.
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