Chris Meloni’s exit from "Law & Order: SVU," in which he has played Det. Stabler for 12 years, will be dealt with over several episodes, according to TVLine.com.
“The reasons for his absence and the effect it has on the squadroom — and Olivia [Mariska Hargitay] — will be explored in the first several episodes," said showrunner Warren Leight. He declined to elaborate.
Meloni’s long run on "SVU" entered its end game in May after the actor and NBC failed to come to terms on a new contract.
NBC Entertainment Chief Bob Greenblatt recently ruled out the possibility that Meloni’s character would be killed off, as we reported previously.
The show’s 13th season starts Sept. 21, with Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish added to the cast to help fill the void.