A few weeks back, it was announced that Christopher Meloni's contract negotiations with NBC had broken down, and that he would not be rejoining Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in its forthcoming thirteenth season. The show has seen some dramatic casting changes in its now dozen years of history, especially in recent seasons where A.D.As seemed to be dropping like flies, but this is probably the most dramatic. Well, via TVLine comes an interesting article about potential replacements that are going to do a few test reads across lead actress Mariska Hargitay. I can't say I recognize any of them besides Kevin Alejandro from True Blood.
All I know is whoever gets cast as Chris Meloni's replacement has some ginormous shoes to fill. Part of what made SVU the strongest of the Law & Order series was the amazing chemistry and character growth between Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson (played by Meloni and Hargitay respectively). It'll be extraordinarily difficult for the new cast member to come even close to matching the repertoire Stabler and Benson had. All I can say to that person is ... good luck.
Then again, with Mariska Hargitay's new contract only requiring her to be in about the first half of the 13th season's episodes, we might be seeing an entirely new detective team on the show less than a year from now. *SPOILERS FOLOW - Highlight at your own risk* TVLine reports that Olivia will be getting a promotion to a supervising position midway through the season, leaving her spot in SVU open as well. Reportedly, this was worked out between Hargitay and NBC to allow her more time to spend with her kid. Whether or not this means Olivia will be exiting the series as well is yet to be known.
Regardless, of what happens, one thing is for sure - SVU won't be the same without these show forerunners. Best wishes and luck to them both.
What do you think? Do you think Chris Meloni's exit marks beginning of the end for the series? Or are you excited about new, fresh blood coming into the show? Post your opinion in the comments!