The “Law & Order: SVU” Season 16 finale concluded with a bang (and a courtroom gun fight), as finales tend to. But to the surprise of viewers at the end of the episode, series regular Detective Nick Amaro (Danny Pino) broke the news to his partner Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay) that he was leaving the force to move out West.

But why the sudden move? On the show, Detective Amaro said he was going for a transfer out west to California to be closer to his daughter and son. Having just survived a near fatal gunshot wound or two, Detective Amaro seemed pretty insistent on transferring out of the unit that offered little in terms of promotions.

One possible opportunity is that Pino may become a cast regular on a show he’s guested on recently, “Chicago P.D.” He played the same character, Detective Amaro, in two episodes in 2014-5. Although not quite California, a transfer from department to department isn’t out-of-line. A recent interview with revealed “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Warren Leight agreed that it felt “right for Amaro to start fresh somewhere else.”

But perhaps his character does ship out west, never to be seen by his “SVU” family again. TVLine confirmed that Pino will not return for Season 17 of “Law & Order: SVU,” but his character didn’t die in the line of fire.

Through his Twitter account, Danny Pino thanked his fans and SVU cast and crew for the past four seasons:

His co-star Mariska Hargitay wished Pino a fond farewell on Twitter:

The news shocked fans who were growing used to Detective Amaro over the past four seasons. Danny Pino, a regular on a slew of cop shows from “The Shield” to “Cold Case,” made the jump to the long running “Law & Order: SVU” cast in Season 13 to fill the shoes left behind by series regular and star Christopher Meloni. The popular actor played Detective Stabler for over a decade.