Because of this
(and this picture) Mariska Hargitay is too fat to continue on with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.. According to my sources, for the rest of the season she's taking maternity leave, which has already started due to film schedules. The baby boy, with husband and SVU guest star, Peter Hermann, is due in June.
In recent episodes, she wasn't shown below the chest, and barely seen on screen at all, although her face didn't look as plump when they filmed. In the trailer for the next, we see her character "Liv" (Olivia) gets badly wounded. I have heard it from an intelligent source that Dick Wolf would not dare kill her off due to her popularity, and Mariska loves the show too much to leave. This plot line simply gives the actress time.
She'd better exercise this summer! Just saying.