Ice-T renews his 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' contract for two years
Though Christopher Meloni's departure from "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" will no doubt cause a huge shake up for the series when it returns in the fall, fans might be able to take comfort in the fact that another cast member, Ice-T, has committed to the 13th and possible 14th season popular drama.
The rapper and actor, who has played the role of Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola since 2000, confirmed the news of his contract renewal on his official Twitter page.
"I've just locked in my new SVU deal.. So I'll officially be back for the next 2 years at least. DONE," Ice-T wrote on Friday.
The actor also updated fans about other actors' contract status on the show saying, "At this moment no one else is locked as new members of the show."
In late May Meloni's spokesperson confirmed that the actor, who plays Detective Elliot Stabler on "Law & Order: SVU," will not return for the next season of the show. Meloni has appeared opposite Mariska Hargitay, who plays Detective Olivia Benson, for 12 seasons since the show began in 1999.
"It is true," the actor's spokesperson said. "12 very happy years with the show. On to the next chapter."
NBC has not officially commented on the matter.
Previously, the actor had been in contract negotiations with the network to continue his role on the show. Hargitay inked her deal with the network in early May, however, the actress will be scaling back her role on the show.
Hargitay will still make $385,000 an episode and for 13 episodes her character will continue in her detective role. After that Detective Benson will then be promoted to a supervisor position with a new female detective hired on to take her place.
She told People magazine recently, "I'm so madly in love and married to my show." She adds, "But it's been very difficult for me with two kids, so what I wanted this year in terms of my deal was lifestyle issues ... I needed more time with my kids. So I will be working a little bit less and eventually getting a little promotion, so we are going to bring on a new detective."
Jennifer Love Hewitt has been named in a few reports as a candidate for the new detective role. Hewitt guest starred on the show in a November episode this season playing a rape victim.
Meloni's move from the show singles a change in the "Law & Order" franchise which saw the original show get the ax in 2010. The show aired its final episode exactly a year ago, on May 24, 2010. "Law & Order: Los Angeles" was canceled by NBC last week and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" is set to end this year after ten seasons. In addition to Meloni's exit, longtime executive producer/show runner Neal Baer also left the show at the end of the 12th season.