Last month, it was announced that the lead star for NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mariska Hargitay, was going to take a much reduced role on the upcoming season. Under the new terms of the agreement, she will only appear in 13 of the standard 22 episodes. The storyline reason will be that she was “promoted” to a supervisor position after being a detective on the series for 12 seasons.
Weeks later, it would be rumored that Christopher Meloni — who has also been one of the lead co-stars on the show since its inception in 1999 portraying Detective Stabler along with Hargitay’s Olivia Benson — was reportedly going to leave the series outright. That would become confirmed days later. Now, with the upcoming season premiere projected to premiere in September, new stars have been announced to replace both Meloni and Hargitay.
According to Entertainment Weekly, replacing Hargitay will be Danny Pino, known for his roles on the CBS drama series Cold Case as well as FX’s The Shield. Joining Pino will be Kelli Giddish, who most recently starred in NBC’s now-canceled Chase. Dick Wolf, the creator of the Law & Order franchise, said in a statement about the new stars that he was “very pleased” with the new casting. He added, “I know this combination will give us the opportunity to explore the world of SVU with new eyes,” said L&O creator Dick Wolf.