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+.

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Not saying anything about the actor, but the character "Elliot" has got to go. Elliot brutalizes detainees on a regular basis and at some point a superior has to notice that he's got a loose canon on deck.

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Rae: I wish you were right but the deal is that Chris is not continuging with Season 13 and, unfortunately, Season 13 is the next one that starts in September. In other words, Chris has jumped ship. From what I have read on other sites and entertainment news sources, it was a contract issue. Chris wanted more money and, for reasons not disclosed, negotiations went sour. I got the distinct impression from what I read that if the terms had been right, Chris was negotiating to stay on the show.

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Olivia and Elliot make awesome partners and I will miss him very much. Wish he would stick around!

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If Chris leaves the show it will be the worst thing to ever happen to tv. First, people will stop watching once they realize Chris is gone. Then, the ratings will start dropping like flies. Then people will create websites/facebook pages/etc to try to get Chris back. When this fails, they will petition NBC and the studios where SVU is made. This will fail also, so enormous amounts of people will boycott NBC, causing them to go bankrupt and to plead for Christopher Meloni to return. He will not, and the world will erupt into eternal chaos.
When the dynamic duo becomes the dynamic uno, the show will ultimately fail. Chris and Mariska were and always will be Law and Order SVU. So to answer your question: will we miss him? No. We will mourn him. :'(

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A relationship is a bit different than 2 people who just hit the sheets when the mood tells them to. Grey's Anatomy put 2 characters together like this very successfully. It would depend largely on how much thought the SVU writers put into the transition of the relationship. If they just put them together and left them alone the characters would sink before they swam. On the other hand, if handled right, this could be a ratings "golden goose" for the show.

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Alright 2 things:
First if they do not have Elliot and Stabler hook up before he leaves the show i will FREAK THE F*** OUT.
Second i will not watch the show without him, stabler and benson make the show for me so without one i cant watch the show.
BENSON & STABLER -

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the show would be ruined if olivia and elliot got together. just another clique! their relationship is so good because they r so close but its not based on sex, which is a very rare thing to see on television or in real life.

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chris please dont leave!!!!!!

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I bet this is probably fake. Even if it's not though, and even though I love his character, I think I would be able to handle him leaving. The article says he is staying a whole nother season right? So we have a whole season to cope with the fact that he's leaving. And to Lindsay: I don't think they will kill him. He is too big of a character, that just wouldn't be right. And to Abby: I hope they do too. :) They should get happily married and have kids!!!!

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Ok.....this sucks. I already have to put up with the fact that L&O CI is swapping out its entire main cast....No More Det. Goren or Eames. And now this? Too much bad news to take