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Chris Meloni to Quit 'Law and Order: SVU' After 12 Years

February 6, 2010 (3:30 am) GMT
Mariska Hargitay reckons that her character Olivia Benson will be devastated if Meloni's Elliot Stabler is no longer in the unit.

There's a word in the air that is leaving "" after more than a decade playing Detective Elliot Stabler. An Australian paper, Courier-Mail reported that Meloni will take his final bow in the 12th season which production begins later this year and which episodes will run through Spring 2011.

"I think 12 years is enough, a good number," the actor is quoted as telling the paper. As for how his exit story will go, Meloni admits he has doubts whether they would keep the character alive or dead. "The writers will have fertile ground to figure out how to arc [Elliot] out to another place - whether it's this world or the next," he says.

Meloni's post-"SVU" plans include engaging in theater work and doing "guerilla-style sleeper" movies. "It will be a very difficult transition," he figures. "I mean, Jesus Christ, every day when you get used to getting up early and working these hours."

Courier-Mail also hooked up Meloni's co-star in a question, asking her what she would do when Meloni is out of the picture. Speaking about her character Detective Olivia Benson, she says, "I don't think she could be without him. She loves him, he's her other half."

NBC has not made a comment regarding the report.

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