Christopher Meloni, the American actor best known for playing 'Detective Stabler' on the hit crime-drama 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit', is leaving the show after 12 seasons, according to Entertainment Weekly. Christopher Meloni began working on the show when it launched in 1999, and his co-star Mariska Hargitay recently signed an extended new contract.
Sources say Meloni was offered a "generous" salary to stay with the NBC show for another year, but he made the decision to leave and allow a fresh face to join the crime franchise. The network recently announced that 'Special Victims Unit' will return next fall, but its sister show 'Law and Order: Los Angeles' would be coming to an end after just one season. Meanwhile, Nbc entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt suggested that Hargitay may be looking to lighten her work load after recently adopting a baby. Greenblatt suggested Jennifer Love Hewitt could join the show as cover for the actress after making a successful cameo on the programme earlier this year. He noted that Hewitt "is someone we've been circling", but added, "I don't know whether that's coming to pass or not".
A former construction worker, Christopher Meloni has also appeared in a number of feature films, most notably 'Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay' and 'Runaway Bride.