Christopher Meloni Exiting ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Christopher Meloni of 'SVU' (Photo: NBC)

Christopher Meloni of 'SVU' (Photo: NBC)

Can we handcuff him to the set? Sadly, we’re saying goodbye to Det. Stabler…

Christopher Meloni is leaving “Law & Order: SVU” after 12 seasons, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Emmy-nominated actor, who has been hinting at his desire to move on for some time, will leave the series this fall, after ongoing contract negotiations fell apart. Meloni was reportedly offered a sizable salary to return for one more season but has decided to exit.

Mariska Hargitay, Meloni’s partner since the show began in 1999, will be returning in a new deal that will feature her as a full-time regular for 13 episodes, and then on a part-time basis for the remaining nine episodes of the upcoming 13th season. The actress, who adopted a baby girl in April, wants to scale back her work schedule to spend more time with her family.

NBC is said to be in the process of replacing Meloni. “Ghost Whisperer” star Jennifer Love Hewitt is at the top of the list to fill the female leading role.

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