Should 'Law & Order: SVU' just end already?


Image Credit: Will Hart/NBC

The twelfth season of Law & Order: SVU ended just a week ago, but the invincibly popular series has turned completely upside-down in that time. In the wake of reports that Mariska Hargitay would be limiting her time on the show next season, EW confirmed last night that Christopher Meloni will not be returning to SVU in the fall. Of course, the Law & Order franchise has weathered cast changes before; witness the parade of wry detectives on the original series, or the curiously protean Criminal Intent (which was really three series in one: a gonzo procedural starring Vincent D’ Onofrio, a bland procedural starring Chris Noth, and a desperately underrated curio starring Jeff Goldblum.)

It’s a fair bet that Dick Wolf is already auditioning beloved New York character actors to replace Meloni, and the head of NBC has talked openly about seeking someone (Jennifer Love Hewitt?) to take over for Hargitay. But would you want to watch an SVU without its original stars?

Commenters on had decidedly mixed reactions. While some people were bandying around potential replacements — including former Law & Order cop Jeremy Sisto and SVU guest-star Wentworth Miller — some responders felt like this was the end of SVU. Said Jason Glugla, “The characters are too big a part of the show to go on with one of the two leads gone…Time to end it while the show is still good.” Rhonda was even more pessimistic: “SVU will be cancelled next year. The mediocre scripts were hidden by the talent of the show’s two stars. Not anymore.”

Indeed, SVU has been kind of on cruise control the last few years — Stabler has family drama, Benson gets personally invested in a case, Fin and/or Belzer make a funny comment, and scene! Recasting this iconic pairing isn’t as simple as finding a new sultry steely-eyed ADA; it’d be more comparable to the forgettable final season of The X-Files, when Gillian Anderson occasionally swung by to offer advice to new investigators Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish. Remember that? No? Of course not.

But NBC clearly believes in the power of a franchise over a specific actor — witness the in-universe reboot of The Office — so expect an exciting summer of SVU casting news. What do you think, SVU fans? Should the show just end already? Should the producers lock in Hargitay for a few more years and pair her with someone new? Or should they just reboot the show top-to-bottom with a new pair of detectives? Take the poll below!

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Comments (110 total) Add your comment
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  • J

    Bring back Stephanie March/Alex Cabot!

    • Kenneth

      I haven’t watched any of the Law and Order series in years. They need to cancel this show. NBC programming sucks.

    • Cris

      I love Alex cabot!!

  • tigger851

    it won’t be the same without them, i stopped watching CI because goran and emes left….

    • shelly

      exactly…CI didn’t work with new characters, what makes them think SVU would?

    • Debra Pichardo

      I know of an easy 100 family and friends who will change the channel if Stabler does not return…There is no Law & Order SVU without Stabler and Benson..I dont care if Benson is still there. BRING BACK STABLER…BRING BACK STABLER…BRING BACK STABLER!!! Lose Stabler lose the ratings you can count on that!!!

      • Cris

        I just began watching SVU this past year (got tired of CSI Miami and CSI NY) and am catching up with re-runs. I love Stabler and Benson. DON’T GET RID OF THEM!! I love this show but only if they’re in it!!

  • Miss Talk

    Hmmm sorry but…
    Is SVU the real name of this show? Because my friends and I we call it “Law & Order: L’liot & Olivia”
    So basically if Elliot is leaving and Olivia is next…there’s no show…Right? …Right?

  • Ashley willeford

    I do “not” think you should take law and order svu off. I love this show sooo much watch it all the time,pluss I love all the detectives in this show they do a great job together.please keep it on I love it

  • Toby

    Pair up Benson with Ice-T. He’s awesome. Make the writers do something interesting with him already. Fin’s a great character, but they’ve totally forgotten him (and Munch) over the years since it became the Benson & Stabler hour. I’d love more Det. Munch also, but you must admit he’s getting a little long in the tooth to be a detective (ala Lenny in the final season of the original).

    • katie

      i like this idea! hargitay and ice have good chemistry too.

    • Lloyd

      I agree! Why don’t they pair Benson with either Munch or Fin? Both are great characters and they too are part of the show. Munch would make a great partner for Benson so would Fin.

  • orville

    Revolving casts have worked for some of the other shows in the series, but I don’t think it would work for this one so much. Let it just die.

  • Mr. Holloway

    With Meloni gone and Hargitay only popping up occasionally, this DOES give off a strong whiff of the X-Files.

    Meloni and Hargitay are more closely associated with their “L&O” than any other actor besides Jerry Orbach was with “Original Flavor.” (And the show was never the same without him.) I don’t think anyone wants to see an SVU without Stabler and/or Benson.

  • RP

    I think it could actually use a change. I enjoy both characters but there was only many deliberate pauses “Olivia” could have and so many times Stabler could beat someone up/get shot

    • GooGoo

      I don’t know now, I liked how they were starting to make a running joke out of how every time Marsha Gaye Harden’s character turned up Elliott was either shot or blown up. I can’t help it, it was funny.

      • llsnd85

        I agree that was hilarious! But it does sound alot like the x-files. It pained me when david duchovny left, there’s no more mulder and scully; and it pains me that Chris Meloni is gone, there’s no more beson and stabler. Very familiar demise.

  • Petra

    And don’t replace Stabler, give him a good goodbye and just let the others work with Olivia. You know, Fin and Munch? Remember those guys?

    • maryb889

      Agree … agree … agree (especially about Fin and Munch … I MISS those guys!!!)

  • mela

    I think the show will work with just Elliot gone–he’ll be missed, but they’ve separated Elliot and Olivia before, and it was still watchable. But if Mariska Hargitay leaves as well…Then sorry, but no. If the main two of four lead characters leave a show, is there still a show? I don’t think so. JLH is a fine actress, but her feet aren’t big enough to fill Olivia’s shoes.

    • CC

      I disagree, when I first saw the episode where Hargitay left for maternity leave, I couldn’t watch it. After that I tried to watch an episode with Det. Beck and Stabler, but I couldn’t enjoy it. I think that the producers should just have Olivia, Munch, and Fin as the detectives if they must get rid of Stabler.

  • grandpajoe

    Make L&O a L&O mix of all three

  • T

    If the original L&O can go 20 some years with a changing cast, so can L&O: SVU.

    Change is a part of life.

    Also, I like Munch but isn’t he ready for retirement by now ? He’s been on the force like forever, at least kick him upstairs to a higher rank and a nice office.

    • Stormy

      Plus, he Much had been working at Baltimore Homicide for years before he moved to New York.

  • cxd207

    The show has been getting gradually worse. Bring it back for half of a season, wrap up the characters, and let it go.

  • Jamal

    They need to bring back Diane Neal as Casey Novak.

    • Kris

      I agree 100%!

    • funky

      Yes, please to Casey! They need more LAW to balance the ORDER (or the disorderly private life of the detectives)

    • nancy

      DITTO…show started down when producers let her go to “shake things up”..they should learn from Criminal Minds and fix their mistake. I know this is heresy but can’t wait for Olivia to leave…so tired of her.

  • Lia

    Do they not remember how much we hated the replacements for ADA Cabot? I’m not going to watch an SVU with different leads, unless the leads were Munch and Finn and they’re backed up by Detective Lake returned from prison and a female rookie. And she stays in the back until we decide we like her. And considering they’d have to follow that exact formula to get me to watch…Bye bye SVU. I loved you.

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