With the news that Christopher Meloni would be leaving Law & Order: Special Victims Unit after the recently concluded season, the hunt was on for the actor who would replace him. It seems that the hit show has found its man: Danny Pino.
NBC announced today that two new actors would join the last remaining Law & Order
show for its 13th season. Along with Pino, Kelli Giddish will appear as a series regular; both of the new actors are slated to play detectives. Danny Pino will take up the role vacated by Meloni, while Giddish is expected to fill the gap left by SVU
star Mariska Hargitay's reduced schedule (she and her husband recently adopted a baby).
Unlike the original Law & Order
series, which tended to switch detectives every few years, Law & Order: SVU
has held on to Meloni and Hargitay -- the original lead detectives -- for all of its 12 seasons. The change up in the casting thus produces a scary situation for one of NBC's few verifiable hits. Still, the network and the show's producers seem confident that SVU
can keep going with new blood.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement that "Kelli and Danny are two great actors who will join a proven cast headed by Mariska Hargitay as this exceptional series heads into a very promising 13th season."
The show's creator and executive producer, Dick Wolf, agreed: "I know this combination will give us the opportunity to explore the world of SVU
with new eyes."
Neither of the two new Law & Order
detectives count as household names yet, although both have extensive television experience. Kelli Giddish was most recently the star of NBC's Chase
(Remember that one?), where she played Marshal Annie Frost. She earlier had appearances on The Good Wife
, All My Children
, Life on Mars
and Without a Trace
. Giddish has even appeared on both Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
and Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Danny Pino is best known for Cold Case
, in which he played Senior Detective Scotty Valens. He has also appeared on The Shield
and Burn Notice
Will the new detectives keep Law & Order: SVU
's ratings up? Or will fans disappear without their favorite actors in starring positions? We'll find out next season.(Images courtesy of CBS and NBC)