After 12 seasons of fighting sexual deviants, the Emmy-nominated Christopher Meloni is leaving the Special Victims Unit.
TVline reports that after contract negotiations fell through between Meloni and the network, he decided not to come back for another season.
NBC boss Robert Greenblatt told TVline that he has always been aware of the possibility that his two lead roles might someday be replaced.
Meloni’s co-star on the show, Mariska Hargitay, might not be around much longer either. She’s under contract for a 13th season, but Greenblatt said given the birth of her new child he won’t be surprised if she doesn’t stick around for season 14.
What will come of the last remaining outpost of the Law & Order franchise?
According to the The Huffington Post, NBC is already on the lookout for Meloni’s big-name replacement. Hargitay wants to minimize her role next season, showing up in 13 of the 22 episodes, and according to the New York Daily News, Jennifer Love Hewitt is rumored to replace her for the remainder of the next season.
Whether or not Hewitt will be a permanent fixture on the show is still undetermined.
Greenblatt told TVline, “Jennifer Love is somebody we’ve been circling, but I don’t know that that is going to happen at all.”
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is set to air its 13th season this fall on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.