Christopher Meloni Leaving 'Law & Order: SVU' After 12 Seasons

Get ready to say goodbye to Detective Elliot Stabler, as Christopher Meloni has confirmed that he will be leaving his post on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit after this season.

"It is true -- 12 great years and time for the next chapter," a rep for the actor told E! News.

Meloni's costar Mariska Hargitay will return for season 13 and will be front and center for the first half of the season. Her character, Detective Olivia Benson, will then get a promotion and be seen less as the show plays out.

Upon hearing the news of Meloni's exit, SVU star Ice T tweeted his shock. "Honestly.. The news about Chris today was a BOMB to me too!" he wrote. "Sad. But you never know what to expect in this TV bizz.... Stay tuned."

But Meloni's decision to move on really shouldn't come as such a surprise. The actor told Australia's Courier-Mail back in February 2010 that he had been considering wrapping his long stint on the show

He said: "I think 12 years is enough, a good number."

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