On the season finale of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit last week, fans didn't know that actor Chris Meloni, who has played Detective Elliot Stabler since the show launched in 1999, would be handing over his badge and gun before the return of Season 13.

Meloni's contract is up and his renegotiations with NBC "broke down" on Tuesday, a source told TV Line. Dick Wolf, who created the series, is said to already be looking for a replacement to play opposite SVU veteran Mariska Hargitay. This comes on the heels of news that Hargitay also might be limiting her appearances on next season's episodes.

Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt of The Ghost Whisperer has been proposed as a replacement for Hargitay, but there's no word yet on who might fill Meloni's shoes. NBC has not yet released an official statement about how it will proceed with Season 13 of SVU.

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