Christopher Meloni Leaving ‘Law & Order: SVU’ This Fall

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 26th, 2011 at 8:49 am,

christopher meloni stabler law order svu Christopher Meloni Leaving Law & Order: SVU This Fall

Half of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit‘s dynamic duo will not be returning when the thirteenth season starts this fall. Christopher Meloni, famous as NYPD detective Elliot Stabler, has not renewed his contract with NBC.

Meloni has been in extended contract talks with the network for some time. According to TV Line (who did not reveal their source) the talks have broken down, and Law & Order creator Dick Wolf is actively searching for a new male lead.

The actor has played Elliot Stabler for twelve seasons, and is one of only four actors who has been with the show for its entire run up until now. The other three remaining original cast members, Mariska Hargitay, Richard Belzer and Law and Order veteran Dann Florek, will all return in the fall, though Hargitay will only appear for half of the season.

This isn’t good news for NBC. The broadcast network has struggled in the ratings game in the last few years, and SVU is its top scripted drama. The original Law & Order series concluded last year, and the first spin off, Criminal Intent, has moved on to the greener pastures of cable on USA. A handful of other Law & Order projects have failed to find an audience, like the recently cancelled Law & Order: Los Angeles.

It’s hard to imagine how SVU will continue with the loss of one of its most visible players – and likely two, by the end of the season. As interesting as John Munch (Belzer) and “Fin” Tutuola (Ice-T) are, they’ve never driven the drama-heavy stories as well as Benson and Stabler. Instead of promoting the secondary characters to the spotlight, Dick Wolf will probably bring in some fresh blood – like the short-lived addition of Jeff Goldblum to Criminal Intent‘s 8th season.

law and order svu season 12 cast Christopher Meloni Leaving Law & Order: SVU This Fall

Meloni has consistently played the “bad cop,” as Stabler regularly assaults rapists and child molesters. He’s also the conservative voice in the show’s regular station house debates, playing against Benson’s liberal leanings and Munch’s libertarianism. Meloni’s replacement will likely need to mirror the Stabler character’s aggressive style and sociological affiliations to keep the current dynamic.

After thirteen years, SVU‘s character-driven drama and hot-button topics have had less and less impact, driving the producers to create big moments and guest arcs that distract from the cases and trials. In just the past few seasons there’ve been several extra-long gunpoint standoffs and an extended birth scene in a wrecked car. One wonders how long the most successful of Law & Order‘s franchises can keep it together with its leading man gone.


New episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will return to NBC this fall – minus one detective.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider

Source: TV Line

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  1. I sent you an email and I got an email back from the editor saying I need to only write on screen rant. It must have gone to the screen rant editor. OOOps.

  2. That was for you Toneeeee

  3. We will have to carry on here or I will get into trouble again lol. But I dont understand why it didnt go to you cos I just sent it reply to sender. You should have got it really. Did you not get an email about xmas ?

  4. Now my posts have disapeard completely. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH. I CANT TAKE IT ANY MORE. ;(

  5. And my face is not working either. arrrr


    • Where are you ?

  7. Hey Toneeee
    I was just kidding about not being in my good books. I was just teasing, I guessed you must be busy. I hope everything is going good with your business.
    What is that email adress that u are using to email. Atlantcity etc. I replied to it and I got a reply back again from the head of screen rant saying that I need to post on here or he is the only one who sees it. I am confused, but then I am blonde.
    I dont like Yahoo Messenger cos I never have the time to sit and message with people but I do have time to write emails.
    Anyway, take care and write when you get time.

    Toodle pip Toneeeeeeeeeeeee


  8. I think that email adress that I am getting your emails from must be the adress of screen rant. Have you had an actual email from me or just seen my messages on here ? If you havent had an email then, that adress is not yours, but screen rants. Are you confused ? I am lol

    Toodle pip. Oh and never say never. (will never meet).

    Bongo Toodle pip xxx

  9. missing you xxx

  10. Hi Toneeee,
    lovely to hear from you. I am sorry to make your heart flutter lol. As long you you dont keel over at the same time then that is good.
    Sounds like things are going well with the business. Thats great.
    I dont understand about the email adresses. Always remember I am blonde. So I am only going to post to you on here. I forget wether I need to post or reply though. Never mind, I hope you can read this.
    Yes we get Unsolved Mysterys with Dennis Farina. Good show. Do you remember Unsolved Mysterys with Robert Stack ? I really liked his voice. What happened to him I wonder. Oh he was in an episode of Criminal Minds not so long ago but I dont think you watch that do you ?
    I watched last weeks Law and Order SVU and I had to switch off cos pop eye was in in far too much. She is starting to take over Benson now isnt she. I know Benson is still there but Raaawwwliiinns is creeping in more and more all the time. Ugghh !
    Take care, Yankie Man

    Toodle Pip xxx

  11. Thats really sweet that you say you think about me sometimes. Vica verca. It reminds me of a film I saw once. Dont know which one it was though lol xx

    Whats the difference between posting and replying on here ? x

  12. OMG WOW REALLY!!!!! this show will not be the same w/o stabler i think i’ve seen every episode i no ill prolly stop watching just like 2 1/2 men w ashton lurched i don’t like shows changin they remind me of when i was younger i don’t like to get older an w new characters it will so i already no it prolly will suck but i will give it one chance

  13. Hello Tabitha, yes Stabler has gone. But that, for me anyway, is not what has ruined the show. What has ruined the show for me is the introduction of Keil Giddish as Detective Rollins. As she says, Raaawwwllins cos of her horrible accent. She irritates me so much that I cant watch her. She is eventually taking over Mariska’s Detective Benson so I will be a non watcher when that happens. I can hardly watch now.

    Aint all that right Toneee ?

  14. Hey Toneeeee, it is freezing over here. Whats it like over there ? Do you get snow where you are ? Actually, I have a friend who used to live in New Jersey, and now lives in Florida. She sometimes says she misses snow so maybe you do. You will have to tell me what you doing for xmas when you get the time.

    Toodle pip xxxx

  15. Just used reply for this, is it the same. Supposed to snow here this week. xx

  16. Hows things over seas ? What ya been watching ? x

  17. Hows things over seas Toneeee. What ya been watching ?

  18. Snowing in the UK now

  19. Ok Toneee

    I got the email you sent to my email account. Yes it was titile WHO IS THIS, sent at 2pm. Did you get my reply ? I simply replied to it so if I get an email from head of screen rant then there must be something wrong with that adress. But I will let you know if I do. Let me know if you get mine. Damn if we dont work this out. We are detectives Stabler and Benson are we not. x

  20. You use all capitals and that is seen as shouting. you made me feel bad and upset me.

    • @”Cherry” – I’m shutting this thread and convo down. My recommendation is to never give your email address to anyone on a public forum. I’ve removed all of “Tony’s” non-tv related posts and apologize for not stepping in earlier.


  21. why doesnt anybody use this forum anymore. What do people think of the new detectives in the show ?

  22. I wish they would just end this series. We have enough reruns to last a century. The show is getting more violent and explicit with each season, so go ahead and pull the plug.

  23. Either bring stabler back or this chick won’t be watching svu. I love this show and it won’t be the same with him honr

  24. Bring Stabler back!!! He rules!!! Pino sucks… Show wont be the same…

  25. I miss you Elliot!!!!!! If I ever meet him I’m rifing him like Seabiscuit.

  26. Love the show wouldn’t mine meeting some of them in person , not a groupie just a fan. Stabler and Olivia needs to stay working together.