A Brief History of Law & Order: SVU Cast Shakeups

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Regulation & Order: SVU has been on the scene for 19 seasons, and one factor has remained fixed: Mariska Hargitay.

The lengthy-operating present has featured a revolving door of ensemble forged members, from detectives to ADAs, all delivering memorable performances via the years. The newest exit occurred within the Wednesday, Feb. 7 episode when Raúl Esparza left the present. Esparza performed ADA Rafael Barba since season 14 of the collection.

Take a stroll down Regulation & Order: SVU reminiscence lane with us and have a look again at how the NBC police drama has dealt with character exits up to now. Warning, this will likely make you lengthy for characters of yesterday. Do you have to really feel the urge to revisit, there are all the time marathons on USA Community and Regulation & Order: SVU season 1-19 are streaming now on Hulu.

Dean Winters, Brian Cassidy, Law & Order: SVU

Michael Parmelee/NBC/NBCU Photograph Financial institution by way of Getty Photographs

Dean Winters appeared as Brian Cassidy in season certainly one of Regulation & Order: SVU earlier than being referred to as again to Oz, the HBO collection he was dedicated to first. He returned in season thirteen and recurred as a love curiosity for Olivia Benson, showing in season 14, 15 and once more 19.

Michelle Hurd, Monique Jefferies, Law & Order: SVU

Jessica Burstein/NBCU Photograph Financial institution

An unique member of the forged, Michelle Hurd performed Detective Monique Jeffries in season one and two. The character revealed to a police shrink she met a former rape suspect in a bar and had intercourse with him, and is then taken off lively obligation earlier than being transferred to the Vice squad. Hurd went on to star in Showtime’s Leap Years, and rumors surrounding why she exited stayed simply that—rumors.

Stephanie March, Law & Order Special Victims Unit, Returning Stars

Studios USA

Stephanie March‘s ADA Alexandra Cabot exited Regulation & Order: SVU after three years on the present in season 5. Her character was positioned within the Witness Safety Program after a drive-by capturing concerned together with her prosecution of a drug lord. She was capable of say goodbye to Stabler and Benson. Cabot returned in season six’s “Ghost” after the person who tried to assassinate her was arrested, however returned to life in a brand new id after the trial. Cabot returned within the brief-lived Regulation & Order spinoff Conviction and once more returned to SVU in season 10. She returned periodically in season eleven earlier than becoming a member of the Worldwide Legal Courtroom. She later returned for a number of episode of season thirteen.

As for why she left the present to start with, March advised TV Information, “I need to make sure to emphasise that I’ve zero complaints about Regulation & Order. It was a unbelievable work expertise and I actually miss the individuals fairly a bit. However, you recognize, you get to some extent the place you are feeling like, as a personality, you type of stated every little thing you’ll be able to say. After which it turns into fairly redundant. It was my first on-digital camera job after school. I received actually fortunate and I assumed, I simply should do a few extra issues earlier than I get too snug. Maybe all I want is an extended break.”

Diane Neal, Casey Novak, Law & Order: SVU

Will Hart/NBC/NBCU Photograph Financial institution by way of Getty Pictures

After the departure of ADA Cabot, SVU introduced in Diane Neal (who’s now operating for Congress!) as ADA Casey Novak. Neal’s ADA Novak appeared from 2003-2008, however in season 9 the character violated due course of and was dealing with punishment for the violation. She returned in season 12, revealing she was solely censured for her infraction, however was then re-employed by the District Lawyer’s workplace. The character additionally returned in season thirteen.

Rumors about Neal’s unique departure from the collection swirled on the time of her exit, with speak of a firing as a potential cause. “Diane spent 5 years on SVU and was an incredible addition to the SVU workforce. She is wanting ahead to new alternatives and she or he might be missed,” a spokesperson for the present stated on the time.

Nevertheless, TV Information reported Neal advised the crew she was fired, however she did not affirm. “Rumors are rumors,” she shrugs. “I really like the crew. The crew loves me. We have actually gotten alongside and bonded over these previous 5 years. They usually’re all the time searching for me and watching my again.”

Adam Beach, Chester Lake, Law & Order: SVU

Will Hart/NBC/NBCU Photograph Financial institution

Adam Seashore made his debut as Detective Chester Lake in season eight and joined full-time in season 9. Seashore got here to Dick Wolf‘s consideration in Bury My Coronary heart at Wounded Knee and he joined the present after. His time on the present was brief, he left after season 9 for “new adventures.”

 Michaela McManus, Kim Greylek, Law & Order: SVU

Justin Stephens/NBC/NBCU Photograph Financial institution by way of Getty Photographs

Michaela McManus joined SVU as ADA Kim Greylek after Diane Neal left the present. She solely appeared in season 10 and departed between seasons 10 and eleven. In Regulation & Order: Particular Victims: The Unofficial Companion, former government producer Neal Baer famous the exit was a mutual choice.

Christopher Meloni, Stabler, Law & Order: SVU

Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photograph Financial institution

Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay have been the dynamic duo referred to as Stabler and Benson for the primary 12 seasons of Regulation & Order: SVU. Within the season 12 finale, Stabler shoots a younger lady who opens hearth within the squad room, killing her. He is positioned on administrative depart, however cleared of any wrongdoing. Nevertheless, it was sufficient to make the NYPD’s IAB need to assessment Stabler’s entire jacket. As an alternative, it was revealed within the season thirteen premiere that Stabler handed in his resignation.

In actual life, Meloni and the powers that be on the present failed to succeed in new contract phrases.

Tamara Tunie, Dr. Melinda Warner, Law & Order: SVU

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Tamara Tunie recurred as Medical Examiner Melinda Warner for various seasons earlier than turning into a essential forged member for seasons 7-12. She recurred once more in seasons thirteen-17 and appeared in season 19. No specific reasoning for Tunie’s exit after season 12 has been given.

B.D. Wong, Dr. George Huang, Law & Order: SVU

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The Emmy nominee for his work in Mr. Robotic appeared on a recurring foundation as Dr. George Huang from seasons 2-three earlier than turning into a collection common for seasons four-12. He left the present to do the brief-lived NBC drama Awake, however returned in episodes in seasons thirteen, 14, 15 and 17.

Richard Belzer, Law and Order

Artwork Streiber/NBC

Richard Belzer performed John Munch on extra exhibits than you in all probability keep in mind, beginning on Murder: Life on Road and showing on quite a lot of different exhibits together with The X-Information, Arrested Improvement and The Wire. Belzer began as Munch on SVU with the primary season and left—retired—in season 15. Belzer returned in season 17.

“In the actual world, which we attempt to very arduous to simulate, NYPD has obligatory retirement earlier than your 63rd birthday. And we have been making an attempt to determine the way to cope with it,” former SVU showrunner Warren Leight advised stated when Belzer left the present. “The rationale NYPD does it’s as a result of you possibly can’t have sixty five-yr-previous guys operating after guys. It’s a onerous and quick rule.”

Law & Order SVU, Danny Pino, Peter Scanavino

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Danny Pino joined Regulation & Order: SVU as Nick Amaro alongside Kelli Giddish (as Amanda Rollins) for season thirteen, serving to fill the void left by Christopher Meloni’s exit. Pino’s character left the present after being shot to go spend extra time together with his household.

Former SVU showrunner Leight stated it was Pino’s choice to go away. “It was, on the finish, a very good mixture of the 2. Danny did seven years of Chilly Case and The Defend after which 4 years right here. Even final yr, he was starting to need to unfold his wings a bit of. I understood that. On the similar time, from a personality viewpoint, we had put his character by means of so much. Though his intentions have been good, a variety of what he’d gone by way of ended up placing him in hassle with the brass downtown,” Leight informed EW.

Dann Florek, Donald Cragen, Law & Order: SVU

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A crossover character from Regulation & Order, Dann Florek performed Captain Donald Cragen for 15 seasons of SVU. The character left the present after he approached obligatory retirement age. Cragen returned in season sixteen to assist with an previous case.

Law and Order: SVU, Sam Waterston


After six years on the present as ADA Rafael Barba, Raúl Esparza hung up his fictional regulation diploma. The character determined to maneuver on after being placed on trial for ending a child’s life in an emotional proper-to-die case.

“I’ve finished six seasons, I felt prefer it was time to go. I had explored loads of what I assumed Barba was about. I simply felt it was time to maneuver on. I used to be additionally feeling just like the position has modified through the years in a means that has been an fascinating expertise for me,” Esparza informed EW. “Once more, I am a theater man, so it is like having a script in entrance of you that retains altering each time you go to do it. The training strategy of how roles develop over a time period with a collection has been type of fascinating, and I simply felt I had reached the top of what I needed to discover the place they have been writing.”

Regulation & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are each a part of the NBCUniversal household.)

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