While speaking at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt revealed that the beloved character will not be entirely written out of the police procedural.
"I think you should just watch and see," Greenblatt said when asked about how Meloni's departure will be explained. "It's not a big shocking mystery."
In May, Meloni announced that he was leaving the NBC series after playing Stabler for 12 years.
Greenblatt went on to address Mariska Hargitay's role on the forthcoming season. The actress is rumoured to be taking a supervisory position on the series.
"That remains to be seen," he said. "That's something we talked about, and I don't know if that's actually where it's going to go in the latter half of the season yet. But that could happen."
Law & Order: SVU will return for a new season on September 21 on NBC.