We don't yet know how he'll say goodbye to 'SVU' after 12 seasons on the job, but it's never too early to start preparing ourselves for someone else taking over the sex crimes beat.
While rumors have been swirling about who will replace Mariska Hargitay -- she's only coming back for 13 episodes next season as Olivia Benson before departing herself -- not much has popped up in the way of recasting the role Meloni made famous.
Assuming they'll keep a man on the job to maintain that same partner dynamic, we've come up with a few great options (casting agents, take note!) to spar with Hargitay and her eventual successor, including two 'L&O' franchise alums and two stars from opposing sides on 'The Wire.'
Now that 'The Chicago Code' has been canceled, Clarke's controlled energy and lively drive would be a good pick-me-up for this aging drama. We already know he can tame that Aussie accent to play an American cop.
-- Mo Ryan
Elba has proven his dramatic TV chops on both sides of the law -- as a henchman for a drug lord on 'The Wire' and, currently, as Detective John Luther on BBC's hit 'Luther.' Both are perfect examples of the power he can bring to a role. He deserves better, but 'SVU' would be beyond lucky to have him.
-- Maggie Furlong
The only good thing to come out of the disastrous 'Law & Order: Los Angeles' was Corey Stoll. And to a lesser degree, his mustache. Don't you think the 'SVU' station could use a little stoner-guy levity?
-- Jean Bentley
Jesse L. Martin
What better way to bring longtime 'Law & Order' fans back into the fold than adding Jesse L. Martin to 'SVU'? Opportunities for other 'L&O' alums to pop in for guest spots would increase, especially if this was the final season of 'SVU.'
-- Chris Harnick
Meloni's Stabler has some similarities to West's portrayal of Jimmy McNulty on 'The Wire.' Plus the British actor has already got the Baltimore accent down, which could segue nicely into the New York cop dialect.
-- Alex Moaba
The hardest part about replacing Meloni is that smoldering, soul-penetrating stare. Wentworth Miller, longtime star of 'Prison Break,' might just be able to match it. He's sullen, soft-spoken and aggressive, and, hey, he even guested on 'SVU' in 2009 as a detective.
-- Chris Jancelewicz
Agree or disagree with our picks? Have other actors or actresses in mind for the role? Sound off in the comments.