Christopher Meloni Hangs Up ‘SVU’ Badge

“Law and Order” veteran leaving after 12 seasons with the NBC procedural

Christopher Meloni is hanging up his "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" badge, TheWrap has confirmed. 

Meloni has been with the popular NBC police procedural since it debuted in 1999 and was widely expected to return for a 13th season.

Also read: Kelli Giddish and Danny Pino Join 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'

Co-star Mariska Hargitay is expected to return to the series, but will not appear as frequently as she has in the past.

Meloni has won praise and an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of the intense detective, but past contract negotiations have been tumultuous. He publicly blogged about his displeasure over the way talks went in 2007 when one contract was up, and had earlier hinted that he might call it quits after 12 years with the show. 

The network did not announce its plans to replace Meloni's Detective Elliot Stabler.