After over a dozen seasons of huge ratings, Christopher Meloni, who portrays New York sex crimes Detective Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, has announced that he will not return to the ripped-from-the-headlines NBC franchise this fall. (Tear)

The 50-year-old Emmy-nominated actor was unable to agree on a new deal with Universal Media Studios, a source told the AP late Tuesday. However, Mariska Hargitay, who plays his partner Detective Olivia Benson, will return, despite rumors that she will be replaced by Jennifer Love Hewitt, the source said.

In 12 seasons, Meloni brought amazing range and depth to a complex character, a devoted Catholic family man with strong morals yet conflicted by personal turmoil, including recurring fantasies of murdering pedophiles.

Detective Stabler, you will surely be missed.

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