In news that's reasonably surprising to me, long time male lead Christopher Meloni (Elliot Stabler) will not be returning for next season's Law & Order:reported by TVLine.com]. He's been on the show since it premiered in 1999. Co-star Mariska Hargitay is signed for next season, but reports have it that she may only be a part of the episodes in the first half of the season.[
Law & Order:was NBC's highest rated drama during the 2010-11 season, and trailed only The for the net's highest rated scripted show overall.