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Danny Pino Leaves 'Law & Order: SVU' in Season Finale

Danny Pino in a scene from "Law & Order: SVU" (Photo by NBC).

LOS ANGELES - Danny Pino, who joined the cast of "Law & Order: SVU" in 2011 after the departure of longtime series regular Christopher Meloni, has left the show when his character Nick Amaro, agreed to leave the Special Victims Unit to be with his family in the season finale.

In the season finale, Nick

Amaro, played by Pino, was shot twice by a sex trafficker, but ultimately survived in the final minutes of Wednesday night's episode, but in the end, the told his police colleagues that he planned to retire.

Earlier in the season, when he tried to push for a promotion to sergeant he was told that he was never going to be able to be promoted in the department after he shot an unarmed teenage boy last season. So Amaro told his colleagues that he would now move across the country to be with his daughter and son.

Show producers have stayed mum on whether Pino's departure may open up a slot for a rookie detective to join the unit. Pino and Kelli Giddish joined the series in 2011.

Pino had been a series regular on CBS's "Cold Case" for seven seasons, and had previously appeared on "Burn Notice," "CSI: New York," "The Shield" and most recently appeared on "Law & Order: SVU" offshoot, "Chicago P.D." in his role as Amaro.

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