‘Law and Order: SVU’ Cast Update: Danny Pino will not Return Next Season

By Cheri Cheng - 21 May '15 11:44AM

"Law and Order: SVU" said goodbye to yet another character.

In the season 16 finale, detective Nick Amaro, played by Danny Pino, chose to resign from the force in order to spend time with his family in California.

In the episode, Amaro, who tried to apply for the sergeant exam but was discouraged, was at the courthouse when a shootout occurred. During the shootout, Amaro took out Johnny D, a sex trafficker, but received two bullet wounds, one in the liver and the other in the knee. Johnny D was Olivia Benson's (Mariska Hargitay) tormentor and the biological father of her adopted son.

After recovering from getting shot in the line of duty, Amaro decided to move on after sensing that he would be headed nowhere in New York. Amaro informs Benson of his plans to spend time with his children.

"I grew more in the last four years with you than I did in the 12 years I was with [Elliot Stabler]. That relationship, whatever it was, didn't allow for anything else. But with you, with your support, I have a family. You helped me grow," Benson told Amaro, who joined the team in season 13 alongside detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish).

After the episode aired, Pino tweeted his goodbye to the show.

Hargitay posted a picture of herself with Pino on Twitter with the caption, "#FriendsForLife."

With Amaro gone, the spot as Benson's No. 2 is open for grabs. Prior to the season finale, Hargitay talked about this position but did not reveal much about who will be taking over that role.

She said to E! News, "Fin [Ice T] has the most experience but is happy where he is. Amaro wants it, but he's not popular with the brass. Olivia would much prefer someone in the squad step up, but who? 
Actually, I think sometimes the best person is the one you least expect. That always makes the most interesting dynamic. Or maybe it's just the person who wants it the most, that's who ends up stepping up to the plate. Then there's always the possibility that it's the person who wants it the least. The person who says, 'Wait, what? Me? Absolutely not.' And then they come through and shine in the position. Which is my extended way of saying, 'Your guess is as good as mine.'"

"Law and Order: SVU" returns this fall.

Watch Pino's goodbye here:

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