It looks like NBC and Dick Wolf have finally cracked the case of what to do with the cast of Law Order: SVU. After a tumultuous month that saw series staples Mariska Hargitay decide to stay in a reduced role and Christopher Meloni decide to depart altogther, the network today announced it has signed former Chase star Kelli Giddish and former Cold Case regular Danny Pino to play the show’s new detectives. The announcement was made by NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt. “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,” Greenblatt said. Added exec producer/creator Wolf: “I’m very pleased that we have two amazing actors joining the cast. I know this combination will give us the opportunity to explore the world of SVU with new eyes.”
Pino was one of five actors to test for the role vacated by Meloni, who already has signed on to a big-time part in Warner Bros’ Superman redo Man of Steel. He played Senior Detective Scotty Valens on seven seasons of CBS’ Cold Case, and more recently guest starred on USA Network’s Burn Notice. Giddish starred on the short-lived NBC series Chase last season and has appeared in guest-star roles on both SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, so she knows some of the terrain already. She presumably got the detective role that Jennifer Love-Hewitt was being courted for (though it seems no formal offer was ever made).