Christopher Meloni's replacement on 'SVU' is ...

Danny Pino played Det. Scotty Valens on the hit CBS series "Cold Case," and is now moving on to "SVU."
Danny Pino played Det. Scotty Valens on the hit CBS series "Cold Case," and is now moving on to "SVU."Craig Blankenhorn / CBS / Today

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By Anna Chan, TODAY

"Cold Case" star Danny Pino!

As TVLine reported June 20, the actor was one of five up for a role to replace longtime "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" star Chris Meloni, who did not renew his contract to return for a 13th season as Det. Eliot Stabler. (According to our pals at The Hollywood Reporter, Meloni rejected an $8 million salary to return.) Pino played senior detective Scotty Valens on the CBS procedural for seven seasons.

The other actors being considered were "True Blood's" Kevin Alejandro, "Ghost Whisperer's" David Conrad, "Terriers" Michael Raymond James and "Entourage's" Rhys Coiro.

Also joining the cast as a detective next season is "Chase's" Kelli Giddish, who is no stranger to "SVU." The actress guest starred in the 2007 episode "Outsider." Star Mariska Hargitay will be cutting back on her hours next season, which leaves room for Giddish's new detective. Hargitay's Det. Olivia Benson will be getting a promotion around midseason to allow for a shorter schedule for the actress.

"L&O" creator Dick Wolf had this to say in a statement about the new cast members: "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.

Though fans will no longer get the duo of Stabler and Benson, Dets. Fin Tutuola (Ice-T) and John Munch (Richard Belzer) will be back. Both actors have already renewed their contracts for season 13. Also returning will be Dan Florek as Capt. Don Cragen.

Think Pino is a good choice? Or were you rooting for one of the other actors (as I was)? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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