A week after NBC Robert Greenblatt ruled out the possibility of Stabler dying off screen, new showrunner Warren Leight tells TVLine exclusively that the character’s departure will be explained — and there will be fallout.
“The reasons for his absence,” says Leight, “and the effect it has on the squadroom — and Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) — will be explored in the first several episodes.”
The show’s boss declined to elaborate, but it’s safe to say the events of last May’s finale — in which Stabler shot and killed a young girl — will figure into his exit.
Meloni’s 12-year SVU stint came to an end in May after the actor and NBC failed to come to terms on a new contract.
To help fill the void, SVU is introducing new detectives played by Danny Pino (Cold Case) and Kelli Giddish (The Good Wife).
Season 13 kicks off on Sept. 21 at 10/9c.