Law & Order: SVU Scoop: Stephanie March, Diane Neal Heading Back to Court

Two of Law & Order: SVU‘s most popular ADAs — Stephanie March and Diane Neal — are headed back to the show this fall.

An SVU spokesperson confirms that the pair will return for “an undetermined number of episodes” during SVU‘s upcoming 13th season.

The news comes a week after the show tapped Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish to help fill the detective void left by Chris Meloni. Leading lady Mariska Hargitay, meanwhile, will appear in all 22 episodes, although her Benson character is expected to segue into more of a supervisory role.

Thoughts? Are you less inclined to cancel your SVU season pass now that March and Neal are returning? Hit the comments!

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274 Comments
  1. Susan says:

    I am very happy to hear the news that Diane Neal is returning for a number of episodes.I agree that they pulled a real coup getting these two stalwarts of the courtroom back- but where does that leave Melissa Sagemiller?I don’t think her character even had a chance to catch on w viewers,unfortunately.I’m saddened by the demise of Stabler and Benson.I have to say I enjoyed CM as Stabler but the fact that he would turn down an $8 million paycheck to do one last season with SVU speaks volumes about where his interests lie. I think he’s a fabulous actor but he’s a 50 y.o man in a youth-driven industry. I applaud MH for actually sticking w the show for one final season and then bowing out gracefully. I think she recognizes the role SVU has played in her career: even her foundation came from her work on the series.I’ll be much sadder to see her go when the time comes.

  2. Kerry Cooke says:

    People are too obsessed with Meloni leaving… and Hargitay IS NOT leaving, I wish people would stop saying that she is! I think taht the show is going back in the right direction now, it totally missed the mark in Season 12… it is not Law and Order if you don’t have the ‘Order’. I like the news of Cabot and Novak coming back A LOT and I am definitely watching the next season… very excited!!

  3. Anne says:

    i cant believe stabler wont be on it in the new season :( i love him. i also like Benson as well so fin & munch arent on it either that bites ill still watch it though i like the show. i wished stabler & benson hooked up though they would of made a great couple

  4. Robin says:

    thank god..very upset that benson and stabler wont end up together eventually but I love benson as a whole and im sorry alex kicks ass followed closely by novak…but yeah im with that guy earlier..benson and alex woohoo lol

    • HGFM says:

      Benson and Stabler were never going to end up with each other in the way EO shippers wanted.

      • Mia says:

        And now we know for a fact they won’t since Stabler is gone. I’m sorry for the fans that will miss him but I’m glad to know they won’t ruin the show with them hooking up.

      • hgfm sucks :D says:

        You have absolutely NO proof to this. Unless you’re one of the writers or producers (which I’m assuming you’re not since you bash the show so often), you have no idea whether they were going to do it or not. They could have easily been waiting until the end of the show. And even though DW and NB said it wasn’t going to happen on multiple occasions, they have also acknowledged that it was very possible and to never give up hope.

        • H says:

          You really need a wake-up call. Since Stabler went home to his wife it been made increasingly and pointedly clear that he is still in love with Kathy. It is also equally clear that he only thinks of Benson as his partner. Even Benson has said that nothing was going to happen between even if she couldn’t admit even to herself that it just because he was married but he wasn’t interested in her.
          Baer’s refusal to state that outright was just anothre one of his attempts to EO shippers watching so the ratings would drop farther than they already had.

  5. RICARDO says:

    I HAVE BEEN ON VACATION, WHAT HAPPEN TO STABLER. PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME I MISS GOOD ONE.

    • HGFM says:

      Christopher Meloni decided not to return for Season 13. At this point nothing has happened to Stabler. Hopefully the first episodes will explain the absence of his character.

  6. golddustmommy says:

    I love both of them. VERY sad about not having Stabler though

  7. golddustmommy says:

    WHAT? no Fin and Munch?? what the hell did I miss?? I just watched the entire season like 2 weeks ago? how the hell hare they gonna just start a season without anyone???

    • HGFM says:

      There was nothing about there being no Munch and Fin. Both actors have signed to continue their roles. The same with Dann Floreck.

  8. ruth says:

    i love they are both coming back!they are my favorites!pleasekeep benson and stabler!THEY ALL NEED TO STAY!

  9. rebecca says:

    Omg I can’t believe dat my elliot is gone now as a fan of da show that hurts my feelings!!!!

  10. mdb says:

    ended my season pass 3 years ago but will be back to give it one more shot – hoping all the cast shake ups will force the writers to do a better job

    • Jackson says:

      THIS! I stopped watching years ago when the writing went into the crapper. I’m hoping new characters will force the writers to step it up.

  11. lbar25 says:

    Yes! I’m so happy! I love those two characters! I just pray and hope that Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish can do justice with their roles to keep the show going. This is my All-time favorite TV show…I watch all the re-runs on USA network too!

    • jkm says:

      ME TOO…and now I’m sure glad I started my collection of SVU from the first year to season 11. When I can’t catch it on USA or I simply need an SVU “fix” I pull out my dvds! :) I almost have each episode memorized now..Hee hee

  12. Mackenzie says:

    Never liked Alex…but glad to see Casey is coming back. Though I still don’t think it’s enough to keep me a loyal viewer. I’ll watch the first couple of episodes to see how they write out Elliot but then I’m done. SVU is nothing without Benson AND Stabler!

    • Lawuan Goldsborough says:

      It is sort of a bittersweet moment because Chris and Olivia have been partners since the beginning of the show. On the upside they are bringing both original ADA’s back, which is why I’m going to continue watching. In addition Benson is the one who bring more action to the show.

  13. Drvlg says:

    YES!!

  14. Laurine alt says:

    I will not like the show asuch without stabler. He is the best

  15. Gabby says:

    Omg yes Diane Neal. Casey Novak is such a beast, I personally like her more than stephanie march but they are my two favorite!

  16. michelle says:

    I LOVE DANNY PINO was a big fan of his on COLD CASE( should NEVER have been cancelled). I can see him adding his good ”cop skills ” to the show. Im REALLY gonna miss CHRISTOPHER his chemistry with MARISKA is off the chart…hopefully fans will stick with the show and give DANNY PINO A SHOT…..IS IT ME OR DOES CHRISTOPHER MELONI HAVE the most AMAZING BACKSIDE..can i get a AMEN!!!

  17. Connie says:

    I was not sure if I would be tuning in with the new season and the exit of my all time favorite character Elliot Stabler played by Christopher Meloni. Also if Jennifer Love Hewitt was stepping in I really was not going to watch. On the upside after reading that Stephanie March and Diane Neal would be coming back, it made me want to at least give the new season a try. For whatever reason Chris Meloni decided not to come back I wish him much luck and success on his new endeavors.

  18. maria says:

    What happened to elliot I must of missed a show

  19. Cathy says:

    SVU is undoubtedly the best show ever! Always was and I thought always would be. Although without Chris Meloni, it is definitely going to be very different. He and Mariska were the show…no doubt. I am thrilled that Stephanie is returning…she was the best ADA. Love the fact they are both returning, but unless they bring back Chris, I’m not sure how long the show will last. Believe me, I hope it lasts forever….I just don’t know.

  20. Audrey Phillips says:

    Will miss Chris Meloni but would never think of not being a loyal watcher of SVU.

  21. Joan says:

    I like the two of them but it still won’t be the same without Christopher Meloni, he’s the best!

  22. margaret heller says:

    i want stabler to stay and mariska to stay. this makes svu the show it is. stabler and mariska is great. but i guess i will give it a try all season. the two ada’s are good also. the show is good, what can i say.

  23. mimi says:

    Neal…no, March, definitely yes!

  24. Shirley says:

    I think it’s going to be difficult to pair Olivia with another partner. Just doesn’t work with anybody else, but I think bringing Alex and Casey back is a step in the right direction. I love Alex!!!!

  25. Laurin says:

    When was it announced that Elliot is leaving??? I’ve been waiting for years for him to get rid of Kathy and hook up with Olivia!! I’m glad Alex and Casey are coming back though! BTW AO fans, the show has mentioned that both ladies are straight…before anyone goes calling me a homophobe, I have no problem with homosexuality on tv or anywhere else, but it just isn’t going to happen with those two.

    • HGFM says:

      Christopher Meloni decided not to sign up for Season 13. So the character of Stabler will be written out somehow. We should find out in the first episode of next season.
      The only good thing about his leaving is that there will never be a chance to have a Stabler/Benson hook-up.

  26. Alyxboi says:

    I will be watching for sure I love both of them. I can’t wait now for more SVU, still it’s sad Chris won’t be back.

  27. Vicki says:

    Hopefully with Casey & Alex returning, there will actually be some “Order” in addition to the “Law” aspect. Last year lacked the courtroom drama of previous seasons. The whole premise of L&O was to show both the police work and the district attorney office role in the justice system!

  28. Kai says:

    I’ve been dying for both of them to both be on the show for an extended period of time!

    I’m so stoked about this. It’s going to be much better now that they are coming back as well. Super excited about DP and KG too! :)

  29. angela says:

    i am way to excited about both casey and alex coming back!! doesnt suprise me a bit that elliot is leaving, i was kinda waiting for that myself, i am suprised he hasnt left before now, after all the crap he has been through, with his oldest seeing a guy being burned to death, and his wife almost dieing in that wreck with liv on the way to the hospital, his whole family just went through way to much for his char to want to stay on there … way to go elliot, be a family man!!!

  30. Rachel says:

    I must have missed something because I didn’t know that Chris Meloni left the show. Could someone please tell me why? It won’t stop me from watching next season as it is my favorite show. I myself was a victim of sexual abuse and could’ve used an SVU unit at the time but there wasn’t one. This show has helped me work through a lot of issues from that.

  31. SVU addict says:

    Bring back Christopher Meloni!!!!

  32. Dave says:

    I thought the show jumped the shark long ago. I mean, how many times can Mariska be raped or attacked and how many times can she be nominated for an Emmy for such blasé acting. Okay, we get it, you’re tough. Stop trying to prove it!

    • EL says:

      Decidedly you do not watch SVU. Mariska / Olivia was never raped. And if she is nominated several times this has a name: talent.

      • HGFM says:

        Not talent, but a huge investment by NBC to promote one of their few chances to get nominations in drama. It had more to do with name recognition and poorly written Emmy nomination instructions that quality performances.
        Hopefully this year will be different.

        • Lila says:

          Do you have anything other to do than bash the show and the actors? Well, given your attitude, I highly doubt anyone would wanna spend time with you so I guess that answers my question. Get a life…

  33. Tanya says:

    SVU= Olivia and Elliott

  34. HGFM says:

    It wouldn’t matter that the actresses are back as Cabot and Novak if the writing doesn’t improve to the quality it was in seasons 1-6. The new writers need to step up and research what they are writing about. No more stupidity from the ADAs! And the same for the defense lawyers.

  35. Marta says:

    I glad they coming back,but Elliot will be missing.
    I love also Ice T and Beltzer. Good job. Welcome back.
    Stephanie I also love Bobby Flay.

  36. Herb Finn says:

    When will Sam Waterson come back as DA Jack McCoy? We know from Dialog last season he’s still DA! :)

  37. Maria says:

    I love the show and I am happy that the Two Ladies are coming back I will continue to keep watching even if Cris Meloni is leaving.

  38. cyn says:

    Yaaaaaay!! The writers mustve read my FB post about bringing them back!!

  39. JohnDoe says:

    Now the next thing they need to do, is start having Jack McCoy appear more often on the show, like Fred Thompson’s Arthur Branch did. Jack is a legend, and could help SVU.

  40. cyn says:

    Have Miss Novak return as a defense atty and pit her against Miss Cabot! This show will be fine without Elliot.

  41. ro says:

    I love law and order svu…… I have been watching and would say this is one of the few shows i watch on tv…… I dont care what hapens i will always watch it….. I love the fact that the my two favorite ada’s are returning and i love episodes well fin and olivia work it he is just as important to the show as munch the captain and olivia and stabler but since he is gone i think fin should be her partner now …. Just all it is my favorite ……

  42. Lawuan Goldsborough says:

    I love both these Actresses. Which one is going to be the primary ADA though. I think they should make Stephanie (Alexandra Cabbot) the top DA and Diane (Casey Novak) the ADA again. Love seeing these two actresses together. Hate to see Christhoher Melonie gone, but I love Mariskia (Oliva Benson) more.

  43. willy says:

    So why did Elliot leave? That really bytes! He’s awesome!

  44. Andrea says:

    Not gonna watch it since Elliot won’t be on anymore. Olivia and Elliot make the show. Why’d he leave?

  45. patty says:

    It’s really all about Munch and Fin, the others are just to move the plot along.

  46. lourdes estrella says:

    I love this program it 1 of my favorite Iam sorry 2 see 1 of the lead character go but I will still watch it & with the 2 ADA coming back I will keep watching SUV!!!

  47. Nicole says:

    I could give a rat’s butt about Meloni leaving. I’m MORE inclined to watch without him. His character was nothing anymore. Stephanie March is back and that’s all I care about. And yes, now the ratings will be just fine.

  48. Tanya says:

    SO glad the girls are back–they are both great! It won’t be the same without Elliot though. Come back Chris!

  49. Barbara Whitmer says:

    I’m glad that Stephanie and Diane will be back, but I will miss Chris Meloni and am disappointed that Mariska Hargitay will not play as big a role. While detectives have come and gone on other Law & Order shows, Meloni and Hargitay have been the main detectives on this for a long time. Only time will tell what the new changes will mean, but I intend to watch with an open mind and hope for the best!

  50. Jaylynn says:

    Only if they get rid of Hargitay completely!! She is the reason I stopped watching years ago.

    • Jenn says:

      Well don’t get too excited, she probably will quit after season 13 to spend time with her family. Though I assume you won’t ever be watching SVU again, since once she’s done the show is O-V-E-R. Not that I really care if you watch or not, it’s not as if you’re important to the show. Obviously, you are not a loyal fan. Anyhow, I hope you are able to find some other tv show and incredible human being to hate.

    • Regis says:

      Jaylin,

      let’s be reasonable. Mariska Without the show runs the serious risk of ending. She has an amazing fan base.
      And his absence is not felt. Continue without watching.

    • Jan says:

      WHAT?? I can’t believe anyone could dislike Mariska H! She is a super fantastic actress!!

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