Jennifer Love Hewitt Out Of Running For 'Law & Order: SVU' Gig? Meanwhile, Ice-T Signs New Deal
It’s interesting watching the comings and goings lately of the cast of NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
There’s seemingly all stages of involvement. First came the official word earlier this month that Christopher Meloni, who has co-anchored the police procedural as Det. Elliot Stabler for all the show’s 12 seasons, won’t be back for a thirteenth year. Mariska Hargitay, who has also played Stabler’s partner Det. Olivia Benson for the show’s run, will reduce her involvement to a part-time role.
Now comes news from Deadline that producers have changed their minds about casting Jennifer Love Hewitt – you know, RottenTomatoes Worst Actress in Hollywood? – as Stabler’s replacement. The word is that a rush is being placed on the search for Meloni’s replacement, and that there have been talks of adding a new female detective to work alongside Benson. The series hasn’t had two full-time female detectives among the Manhattan sex-crime investigators since its first season. Michelle Hurd played Det. Monique Jefferies for the duration of the first season, but was swapped out in favor of Ice-T’s former undercover narc Fin Tutuola one episode into the second season when Jefferies joined the show “Leap Year.”
Speaking of Ice-T, his foreseeable future is a certainty. He announced via his Twitter this morning, “I’ve just locked in my new ‘SVU’deal. So I’ll officially be back for the next 2 years at least. DONE.”
A big part of me wants to deem the show to be on borrowed time. But this isn’t just any show. This is a “Law & Order” show, the second-to-last man standing (since “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” has returned to USA Network) and the last on NBC’s lineup. Great actors come and go, but few make their stays permanent.
By the same token, one could argue that “SVU” has been as durable as it has because unlike the original, the core cast has remained intact for over a decade. That’s a claim few shows can make, period. Look even at “Cheers.” Female lead Shelley Long left the show in 1987 five years into the show’s run, and Kirstie Alley surprised everybody by carrying the show to another solid six seasons – ironically, ending with Long’s appearance in the 1993 finale.
Then again, it was when leading man Ted Danson announced that the 1993 season would be its last that the show decided “Cheers” wouldn’t be “Cheers” without him.
So, which will Meloni-Hargitay be? Shelley Long, or Ted Danson? And they’re to be the “Long,” who could be the Kirstie Alley?