‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ lead actress Mariska Hargitay has signed a new contract to return for the upcoming 13th season of the hit show, TVLine is reporting. However, going into the negotiations, the Emmy-winning actress requested to have her workload scaled back on the show next season.

The producers accepted Hargitay’s request, reducing her hours for next season. Her character, Detective Olivia Benson, will continue to help solve sex crimes for the first 13 episodes. After the 13 episodes, Benson will be promoted to a supervisor position, and a new female detective will take her place. Jennifer Love Hewitt is at the top of the list to portray the new detective. However, NBC hasn’t officially confirmed or denied the reports that the former ‘Ghost Whisperer’ star will join the cast.

The news comes as Hargitay’s co-star Christopher Meloni, who portrays Benson’s partner Elliot Stabler, is still in negotiations to renew his contract. Hargitay’s contract renewal also comes after the fourth ‘Law & Order’ spin-off, ‘LA,’ was canceled on May 13 after only one season.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Mariska Hargitay
Mariska Hargitay

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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