Christopher Meloni to Leave Law & Order: SVU After Next Season

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More bad news for NBC: it's losing a major star from one of its only solid shows.

Earlier today, Christopher Meloni said he's exiting Law & Order: Special Victims Unit after next season. That will mark 12 seasons on the air as detective Elliot Stabler.

"I think 12 years is enough, a good number," Meloni said. "The writers will have fertile ground to figure out how to arc him out to another place – whether it's this world or the next. It will be a very difficult transition."

Law & Order: SVU stars

What does this mean for Mariska Hargitay as Elliot's partner, Olivia Benson? She isn't going anywhere.

"It's been proven over and over to me that this is the right thing for me to still be here," Hargitay said, adding she'll anchor the series for the "foreseeable future."

But it won't be the same without Meloni by her side. Will you miss him?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.