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. melody says:

    I HAVE 1 THING TO SAY AND 1 THING ONLY…..NO CHRIS MELONI…..NO MELODY, YOU CANNOT SEPERATE MARISKA AND CHRIS, THE NETWORK SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES !!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Claire says:

    Diane Neal’s departure from the show left a HUGE gap. It’s a pity that she did not get returning to the show while Chris was still there (apart from that one ep obviously) as they had really good onscreen chemistry. The ratings might go up for a while with Diane’s return but without Stabler I do not see any interesting characters that would make me watch every week. Stephanie March’s character was always terribly boring IMO. It sounds like they will be tripping over each other in the squadroom. Interesting that there has been absolutely no mention of Tamara Tunie and whether Dann Florek will be forced out mid season as a result of Benson’s promotion.

  3. Patti says:

    I have remained loyal to “SVU” because I adore Christopher Meloni and the camaraderie between all of the cast members, but I have been unhappy with the storylines for the past 3 seasons. They went from being detectives solving crimes in the city to “cloak and dagger” spys handling way too intricate crimes with too may plot lines. Still I remained faithful because I truly love the cast. Now that Meloni is leaving the producers are doing what all producers do when a show has been on for over a decade and the main star leaves….fill the void with as many characters as you can. I love Stephanie and Diane but with no Stabler the gap is way too big to fill. “SVU” should do what other long running shows have done when it seems time to go…..go gracefully. I will always watch the reruns.

  4. betty says:

    Stabler and Benson ARE Law & Order: SVU. If you dont have them, you hardly have a show worth watching. My advice is do whatever you can to keep Meloni & put Marska back as a detective..if you want to succeed that is.

  5. jenna says:

    Best news ever! I love Alex Cabot. And I like the 2 new actors coming on, so I’m definitely getting excited about the new season. I will become a regular viewer again.

  6. Lineup 1 says:

    I got tired of the revolving ADA’s I especially hated the character Sharon Stone played, once I saw her I was done watching. I was willing to give it another try once I heard Danny & Kelli were added to the cast. I grew to dislike Elliot over the past few years so I’m ok with Chris leaving.

    I’s stoked that SM is back I always loved Alex, I wasn’t keen on DL’s character but I grew to love her. With these two coming back and as long as the writing is good the show will survive.

    I hope we get to see Benson in charge, I wonder if they will show her as much as we see Cragin or Lou on the original L&O. You know there there but not in every scene.

  7. Anne says:

    They finally get rid of Chris Meloni so they could pair up Mariska Hargitay with a character that doesn’t annoy me and now Mariska will be on in a limited capacity =( But that least Mariska will still be on the show.

  8. kimberly Allred says:

    The Whole Reason I watch SVU is Because of Chris and Mariska. I love them both dearly. But Diane Neal is my Fav. ADA on SVU. I like Stephanie too but but Diane is my Fav of the ADA’s I am glad they are coming back.

  9. Krystal says:

    My question is this: with Benson taking on a “supervisory” role; what does this mean for Dann Florek???

    • MH Fan says:

      Who knows? From what I’ve heard, Dann Florek DID sign his contract, so maybe they’ll bump Liv up to Sargent or something. If I’m correct, that comes before captain anyway.

      • HGFM says:

        The idea that has been reported that Benson is going to become the next Captain has to be a bad joke. Benson is only a detective at this point. To become a Sergent, she would first have to pass the Sargent’s Exam and then get past the Promotions Board. Her record would be a problem if TPTB were being at all realistic. After two to three years as a Sargent, she could take the Lieutenant’s Exam and convince the Promotions Board again. After two to three years as a Lieutenant, she could take the Captain’s Exam and convince the Promotions Board.

        • Jessica says:

          That’s why this is called tv. It doesn’t have to be realistic. And if you;re looking for realistic, I suggest you find another show.

    • Alex says:

      There is nothing concrete. Everything is speculation. Let’s watch the show. There is still time for criticism. Let’s take a while before the show starts.

      • MH Fan says:

        What are talking about? There was nothing even close to criticism in my post or in Krystal’s. I was simply stating what I knew to be facts. It WAS confirmed that Dann Florek was returning, so there’s no need to get all defensive or bossy.

  10. Rona says:

    the two best have returned. what happened with Crris Meloni isn’t he coming back we need the whole crew what happened with Munch and Finn are they coming back as well let’s not lose all of SVU we need all of our stars to shine congrats to Stephanie March and Diane Neal glad to have you back

  11. Lisa Lee says:

    Still sucks… although I’m happy to hear that they r coming back… the key people including meloni will be gone… just gonna watch USA shows… :(

  12. Pattie says:

    It’s great that they are coming back…I really like Danny Pino from Cold Case so I’m going to give it a try this season. But it’s next to impossible to replace Stabler. Just like Scotty and Lilly made a great tema in Cold Case!

  13. Monique says:

    Mariska Hargitay all 22 episodes?…There is a God!

    • Taylor says:

      LOL. But based on past experiences that doesn’t mean much. They could just toss her into each episode of the last half of the season with a line or two and call that ‘being in all 22 episodes’

  14. javier says:

    I think that law and order Special Victims is a very good Tv serie. But I desagree all the things in wich appear persons who makes sufer to a children. That is the reason I d`ont like to see this TV Series.
    Please mr wolf continue with Law and Order for 20 seasons more.

  15. Billy Joe says:

    I love watching SVU, Benson and Stabler are the show. I am happy to know that both Diane Neal and Stephanie March are back. However, how are they splitting their roles as the unit’s ADA.

  16. Christine says:

    The show will not be the same without oliva and elliott but is good that alex and casey are coming back to the show

  17. Rachel says:

    LOVE Cabot & Novak too! So happy they’re coming back now, but unfortunately, Stabler’s still gone.

  18. nikki says:

    I love this show, it’s my favorite crime drama and I’ve watched all seasons. Mostly I love Mariska. I’m sad Meloni is gone, love both these women prosecutors – wouldn’t mind seeing Mariska team up with another woman, but YES – these are both my favorite prosecutors of all the seasons as well.

  19. Mackenzie says:

    Let’s be honest, SVU is like a failed relationship. It’s changed over the years, and it will never be what it once was. Bringing these two back isn’t going to stop the inevitable end. It might just stall it for a short amount of time. I miss what this show once had. :’(

  20. David says:

    Holy crap, Diane Neal is back. SVU just became a must watch for me.

  21. John Brennick says:

    No Meloni – no deal.

  22. Amith says:

    My favorite show in the world but I agree with almost everyone…Benson and Stabler made it. I’ve always said I’d quit watching if they were gone but I’ll give it a chance since the ADAs are back. My guess is that Benson will be made Captain at some point but probably only temporarily since Cragen hasn’t retired and it looks like Mariska Hargitay may leave in the next season maybe 2. Definitely the end of an era but for all we know the newbies may be better, though it’s unlikely.

  23. K Maria says:

    wont be the same without Chris as the chemistry between Stabler and Benson is what worked. I will give a new lot a chance and i will watch SVU to see how it works.

  24. Harry says:

    Is this a ploy to distract disgruntle viewers who are still pissed off at NBC and Dick for not paying Christopher Meloni enough money to come back? Well, it’s not bloody working. And it doesn’t matter who you cast.

  25. Jay says:

    Man, they should have stuck with Casey being debarred – then brought her in as a detective!

  26. Chuck says:

    They should change the name of the show to LAW & ORDER-MILF

  27. bhm1304 says:

    Anyone who watched the final run of “Criminal Intent” knows that the real crime is the cancelation of that vastly superior show when the two best leads in the Law and Order Universe, Kathryn Erbe and Vincent D’Onofrio, both were ready to continue making great television. They are real idiots for letting the best of the brand just slip away. They should have just run half seasons of both shows on NBC. Instead they just leave an entire crew out of work and stick band aids on “SVU” to keep it going without the excellent Christopher Meloni. Why didn’t the show try something clever like bringing Dean Winters back to the “SVU”? Oh thats right that harkens back to a day when the show was actually good, apparently now they’ve just given up and are waiting for it to end. Dani Pino and Kellie Giddish?? You’ve canceled every version of this show except “SVU” and this is the best detective team you can come up with? Brother please…. Viewers should start watching “Law and Order: UK” on BBCa if they want to remember how good this show model can be.

  28. Nickle bag says:

    really what could both chris and mariska have on the go that could even come close to this show stupid move guys, ask david caruso, all about it when he left NYPD blue…nobody wanted to work with him till he caught a break with csi miami…why mess with something that isnt broke….tisk tisk..!!!

    • HGFM says:

      There is a big difference between Caruso leaving NYPD Blue after a single season and Meloni leaving SVU after 12 years. And Meloni is already in negotiations to be in the new Superman movie. He has worked continuously on other projects on his breaks from SVU. He really doesn’t have to worry about getting work.

  29. Elaine Brown says:

    I will continue to watch SVU this upcoming season only. I love SVU and am so attached to it and the characters including stabler. I will miss him with mariska.Above all I would’nt even consider watching it unless Mariska returned. In the last I wouls sat 5 years she was SVU. So for this season I will watch it and will look forward in the return of Diane and Step, they are also SVU family.Hopefully our 2 newcomers will do well, but lets be honest it’s very unlikely. I this is going to work stapbler ,your going to need to have Mariska play a bigger role to keep your loyal fans. Love this show. I hope it survives. You writers owe us a goodbye from stabler to liv. Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  30. Carina says:

    yay! Cassie and Alex! and Mariska is staying for all 22 episodes! Viewers comments rule!!!!!!!!! we are watching season10 in south africa andI think we are at the episode where Mariska went for her lung op. season 13 is the best news ever. Chris is doing some movie

  31. Markham Thyme says:

    They should have gotten rid of marissa haggardy. I can’t stand her c u next tuesday face. But I absolutely adore Diane Neal. After getting rid of Chris Meloni, she will be the only reason for me to tune back in. Ugh….Benson *vomit*

    • Molly says:

      Wow…if you hate her so much, can you at least learn to spell her name correctly? Mariska Hargitay is an incredible actress and beautiful woman, inside and out.

  32. sheila says:

    i’ve watched this show from the beginning & i do agree that benson & stabler were terrific 2gether. however danny pino from cold case & kelli kiddish from chase might be good replcmnts although, nor should it be, the same as meloni & hargitay. however i watched both of their shows & enjoyed them. kiddish is a good kick ass mama as she was in chase & might surprise everyone or may not. now that ive heard these 2 r replacing the other 2 i will continue 2 watch as i feel they deserve a chance & because i happen 2 like these 2 actors as well

  33. Steven Cohen says:

    Given Sister Peg being the S12 finale death (spoiler alert), what does a Benson promotion mean for Dann Florek? Is he going to be segued into replacing B.D. Wong, or possibly mandatory retirement of some sort?

    This made my day, it’s just a matter of logistics until September at this point.

    • HGFM says:

      Dann Florek has signed on for next season but there was no mention of the number of episodes. The same for Richard Belzer.
      The idea that Benson could replace Cragen as Captain is totally unrealistic. Please read the message above as to why that is so.

  34. sadtroll says:

    Ice loves Coco.
    That is all.

  35. George says:

    So what happened to doing better quality television. Why do the networks always plays the same cards. Instead of depending on Nostalgia for former characters. How about Doing smarter writing than all of other bland crime procedural and real organic character development for the new characters. On the track SVU is now it won’t last more than a couple of seasons.

    If the Law and Order franchise wants to survive. How about coming into the 21 century of television. There are too many Crime Procedural going for the bare minimum. Broadcast in general get the most exposure and production money for the lowest quality of work.

  36. veronica says:

    I am super happy with the return of Diane Neal SVU for the season to 13, wooohooo, amazing, and Stephanie March also wow the two together in court, oooohhhh, fantastic, shame that will no longer Chris Meloni and Mariska happy also for that will continue on SVU, I can not wait to see Casey and Alex together! excellent choice of ADA, the best no doubt

  37. M.B. says:

    So how will Stabler be written out? Will they take 12 years into consideration? Will Chris Meloni be brought back as a special guest star for closure?

  38. Kelly says:

    I LOVE THEM ALL SVU IS MY SHOW BUT BENSON AND STABLER ARE THE SHOW I LOVE FIN AN MUC. AND ALL FOUR OF THE WORK GOOD TOGETHERE. SO PLEASE KEEP THEM THE WAY THEY ARE.

  39. cate says:

    I didn’t miss Olivia when she had her first baby. I liked the Elliott-Danny team. Meloni has charisma that will be tough to replace. As regards the ADA’s, they have come, gone and come back- the show chugged along thanks to great chemistry in a great ensemble. Elliott was the mortar. We’ll see whether the new actors can cut the mustard. My guess is that this will be another Law and Order franchise down the tubes. It doesn’t seem to take much to provoke cancellation these days!

  40. Cecily says:

    If stabler is leaving it would be a perfect time for an E/O hookup? Its been 12 years .I think its finally time (:

    • Anna says:

      I wish! You have no idea how much of my life I have given to SVU and the hope of EO…but given recent statements, it is highly unlikely Chris Meloni will return even for a guest appearance :(

      But I beg the writers not to give the AO shippers satisfaction. It has been proven time and time again that both Alex and Olivia are straight. To have A and O wake up one day and realize they’re both lesbians and madly in love with each other would be a complete and utter joke.

  41. Travelightly says:

    Just not a fan of Giddish. Can’t you find someone with more charisma?

  42. john says:

    Lane and March are both great ADAs on the show. I’m glad they’re coming back for a few episodes. Maybe that’ll keep me watching since hearing Meloni’s departure from the show. If the new plots are deemed to be dull and confusing like most of last season, I’m sorry to say that I won’t be watching as much as before.

  43. perlalizeth says:

    well,they are by far my favorite ADA’s. and my favorite characte is Olivia, as long assheis there ill continue watching, but ofcourse it won’t be the same as it was with Chris. I just really wish that it is mentioned on the showwhat happened to his character, but the thing i wish for the most is for Olivia to get to be a mom.

  44. Cecily says:

    Some of us gave our lives to this show. Benson and stablers chemisrty on and Off sreen is irrepacable . They connected . I think stabler should come as a guest apperiance and finally realize olivia is the one an leaves kathy and his job for her. It seems right (: A/O will NEVER happen . Just sayinn

  45. Gillian says:

    It has been so hard this summer to find out when they are showing SVU on our local station. There are just way too many of those stupid reality shows. About the only one I like is Amazing Race. Hadn’t heard that Elliot was leaving show. I agree with many that the chemistry between Benson and Elliot was what carried show. Glad to hear ADA returning – I like them both.

  46. svufan says:

    omg! yay! neal was such an asset to the show.. but wont be the same without benson and stabler :(

  47. Cecily says:

    Chris meloni and Mariska hargitay should do a movie together. Because there partnership will be dearly missed . SVU will not be the same ! One or two more seasons max . E/O=<3

  48. Mary says:

    This sucks. The reason I watched this show was because of how amazing the chemistry was between Chris and Mariska. That and the amzing story lines. I don’t think it will be as good anymore. I’ll still give it a shot no doubt just because it is my favorite show. But Chris and Mariska definetly made the show. ):

  49. lanise says:

    I love eli and olivia, don’t split them up. I wanted them to end up together. They’re the best. Love SVU!!!!

  50. Monique A. Cline says:

    While I’m overjoyed at the return of Diane Neal and Stephanie March (though Alex is my fave ADA), I don’t think that the show will survive past this year. What made SVU great was the chemistry between Chris & Mariska, as well as the chemistry between the ensemble as a whole. To bring in two actors, and yes talented actors they are, does not mean success. And the lesson learned from the mothership is that it’s ratings went steadily downhill after Jerry Orbach died. The ever-changing detectives and ADAs didn’t help either. However the mothership and SVU are different species:-)). For ALL of its run, SVU has starred Chris & Mariska. They ARE the faces of the show. Period. And, you can’t replace that. It’s said Wolf saw their audition together during casting, and was sold because of the chemistry between the two. I can’t blame Mariska for wanting less time to devote to her expanded family, AND I can’t fault Chris for wanting a percentage of the back-end profits — especially considering that her near Charlotte, NC, SVU comes on at least 5 different local and cable stations. Wolf, Baer, etc are making billions, but they’ve made it because of the acting of Chris & Mariska (as well as the rest of the ensemble). Because the ADAs are coming back, I’ll try to watch, but as an actor, I can imagine it is very difficult to enter an group that, for the most part, have been together for 12 years, especially in replacement of a core part. That, in itself, doesn’t bode well for good chemistry. But since the main problem with SVU for the last 4-5 years has been the poor writing quality (Yes, Baer has left building, good riddance!), I do want to see what the new writers bring to the table. Adding the best ADAs will certainly help. Don’t know if it saves the show, but next year will probably be better quality-wise (in content; the actors were always good, even with bad material) that it’s been for awhile, so if it goes, I hope it goes on a high note.