Adam Beach, who just joined the cast of Law & Order: SVU as Detective Chester Lake this year, is leaving when the season ends in May. Beach’s character, an SVU detective in Brooklyn, didn’t replace anyone when he moved to the Manhattan SVU precinct. Since he was an add-on, producers are not expected to recast his role.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Beach’s contract was only for one year, with an option to extend to two. Neither Beach nor SVU producers decided to exercise that option. Of his departure, Beach simply said, "I very much enjoyed my year on Law & Order: SVU. Now I'm looking forward to new adventures." Beach joined the cast after starring in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, an HBO film produced by L&O creator Dick Wolf.

The news of Beach’s departure comes just a few days after that of his cast mate, Diane Neal, who has played ADA Casey Novak on the series for the past five years. While I liked Beach, I understand why he’s choosing to move on. As the fifth detective, he didn’t really have a place in the formula of the show. Instead, he was relegated to the periphery, helping out the more senior detectives where he could, or as in one memorable episode, opening up an exploding pizza. Beach’s tenure on the show also coincided with Richard Belzer’s character, Detective Munch, spending a lot of time in the squad room. While I’m sorry to see Beach go, hopefully it will pave the way for more Munch/Finn (Ice-T) street work, because that is an Odd Couple-type comedy spinoff just waiting to happen.

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