law order svu snacks Law & Order: SVU: Chris Meloni to not appear in multiple episode goodbye arc

As fans know very well, the Sept. 21 Season 13 premiere of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” will not include Chris Meloni.

The actor failed to renegotiate his contract with the NBC series, leaving it in the hands of co-star Mariska Hargitay and the new blood, Danny Pino (“Cold Case”) and Kelli Giddish (“Chase”).

So will his Detective Stabler be swiftly written off within the first five minutes of the premiere? It doesn’t look that way. TVLine reports the absentee exit will be a big part of the story early in the season.

“The reasons for his absence,” showrunner Warren Leight tells TVLine, “and the effect it has on the squadroom — and Olivia (Hargitay) — will be explored in the first several episodes.”

How cryptic! And since we know that he isn’t dead (thanks for the spoiler, NBC head Robert Greenblatt), expect that fallout to have something to do with Stabler’s Season 12 finale shooting of a young girl.

Photo/Video credit: NBC

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