'Law & Order: SVU': Danny Pino, Kelli Giddish Join Cast as Detectives

Kelli Giddish Danny Pino Split 2011
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Kelli Giddish Danny Pino Split 2011

Pino, who starred in "Cold Case," will essentially replace Christopher Meloni.

Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish will join Law & Order: Special Victims Unit next season, NBC announced Monday. Both will play detectives.

Pino, who starred in CBS' Cold Case, will essentially replace Christopher Meloni, who turned down an $8 million annual payday to stay with the show, say sources. Giddish recently starred in NBC’s Jerry Bruckheimer drama Chase, which was not picked up for a second season. 

STORY: Chris Meloni Exiting 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'

"Kelli and Danny are two great actors who will join a proven cast headed by Mariska Hargitay as this exceptional series heads into a very promising 13th season," NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement.

With Law & Order: Los Angeles getting the axe, SVU will be the sole Law & Order franchise on NBC next season. 

“I’m very pleased that we have two amazing actors joining the cast," added executive producer/creator Dick Wolf. "I know this combination will give us the opportunity to explore the world of SVU with new eyes.”  

With Hargitay requesting that her workload be scaled back next season, producers had been casting about for a replacement and were in discussions with several actresses -- including Jennifer Love Hewitt. SVU will also get a new showrunner with Warren Leight (Lights Out, In Treatment) replacing longtime executive producer Neal Baer, who left the show for an overall deal at CBS.

Earlier this year, Hargitay and her husband Peter Hermann adopted a baby girl.

For his part, Meloni is in final negotiations for a part in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel