Things are going to look very different on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” next year, with the semi-surprising departure of star Chris Meloni.
According to TVLine.com, talks between Meloni and NBC Universal broke down on Tuesday (May 24) and producer Dick Wolf is already looking for “a big name” to join Emmy-winning star Mariska Hargitay on the Wednesday night drama.
But even Hargitay isn’t expected to stick around for long on “SVU.” The actress is expected to remain on-board for the first half of the 13th season, gradually ceding time after midseason to a new female lead. It’s unclear if that transitional plan will remain intact after Meloni’s departure.
Meloni has starred as Detective Stabler on “SVU” since the series premiered in 1999, paired with Hargitay for the show’s duration. While Hargitay has been a perennial Emmy nominee, Meloni’s lone Emmy nod came in 2006. Of course, Meloni starred in “Wet Hot American Summer” and Hargitay did not. So he has that going for him.
Other credits for Meloni include “Oz,” “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” and “Runaway Bride.”