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  • Mariska Hargitay: 'Law & Order: SVU' Star Staying Full Season

    Consider this mystery solved: Mariska Hargitay isn't going anywhere. For now.

    Even before Christopher Meloni's shock decision to leave "Law & Order: SVU," NBC was facing another major cast dilemma: after 12 seasons on the beat, Hargitay wanted to spend more time with her family, which meant, ostensibly, that she'd be spending less time solving brutal, perverted murders on camera.

    The decision was made to send her Olivia Benson upstairs to a more administrative role in the Special Victims Unit, opening the door for a new female lead to take her place on the street. And with Meloni's shoes needing filling, too, earlier in the week NBC announced that "Chase" actress Kelly Giddish and "Cold Case" vet Danny Pino would be taking over much of the crime solving.

    As it turns out though, the new young guns don't spell the end for Hargitay, as an NBC representative told Entertainment Weekly that she would, indeed, appear in every episode this season. Of course, that may be in a diminished role in some cases, though that remains to be seen.

    Beyond this year, everything is up in the air; Hargitay's contract expires after the 2011-2012 season. It may depend on Giddish's ability to win over Hargitay-loyal "SVU" fans, and at least she has a very relevant resume.

    She's already appeared on "SVU," as a guest star 2007, and also made a guest appearance on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" that same year. She had a short run as star of "Chase" last season before its cancellation, and before that, she worked the medical side of the crime genre as the star of the short-lived drama, "Past Life."
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