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

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Please come back stabler and I want to see u and Olivia get together in season 14 so bring it back sexy its just not the same with you too not being on the same show 2gether

    • wow nbc are you crazy its suicide not getting stabler christopher to stay cause the new girl sucks

  2. Wish you would come back Stabler!Just not the same show without you! You kept it exciting & interesting!The other guy is okay but it’s just not S-T-A-B-L-E-R!!!

  3. Come back!!! MU!

  4. I really wish they had not gottin rid of Stabler. He was the main reason I watched the show. He made it more entertaining. It’s like taking The Joker out of Batman it’s just not right. Not only was he a big part of the show, but he was nice to look at [;

    • Law and order is just not the same without stabler please bring him back.

      • I agree! Show isn’t the same. PLEASE bring back Christopher Meloni/ Elliott Stabler.

  5. I almost cried right now. I am absolutely in love with christoper meloni I’m 16 and I think he is freken hot hahaha I am so sad that he left he needs to come back in a suprise epesiod or some thing!!<3 I would love to meet him one day

  6. I was so sad to see Chris Meloni not in season 14 its just not the same without him. Please bring him back!

  7. the show is just not as interesting without Meloni. mariska claiming his departure gives her more opportunities to develope a relationship seems a bit opportunistic. the show’s success does not hinge on personal relationships, instead its about getting the bad guy. bring chris back so he can at least have a good-buy to fans. besides, who knows who the fans sit in front of the tube to see more? Personally, it was the chemistry between chris and mariska. the knew woman detective is a nice addition, but the former cold case guy doesnt come close to filling the absence of Meloni, just saying……..

  8. Where is Meloni now? What is he doing? Haven’t seem him on other show.

  9. Isnt it always abt money. but, no show would be worth watching without the writers hard work on the scripts so kudos to the writers for keeping it fresh.. I miss elliot stabler so much, it isnt the same without him
    he is a great role model. BRING HIM BACK !!! I’m still waiting !!!

  10. I was so disappointed with the departure of Christopher. Even more, that they didn’t offer an episode explaining his swift departure in the story line. Law and Order and the shows spin off are the primary programs that I view. NBC screwed the pooch on this decision.

    • I watch the show every chance I get. Lots of times I watch it all day long. Without Stabler, it can’t and won’t be the same. His personality IS the show. he’s so sexy and he gets so emotional, it just melts my heart. The show won’t last.
      I wish you the best, Stabler!!

  11. The program is just not the same without Chris, his emotions , getting to really know him, how he likes Olivia but keeps hands off, how he loves his wife and children. It was a real program then and is no more. I fell in love with him and I am 73 years old for pete’s sake. He and Olivia make the program extremely special keeping it on the up and up, knowing what they each want and not willing to compromise for a little sex together. That is pretty strong. He loves his children, WHY OH WHY did he leave? I just don’t watch it anymore. Doesnt’ he want to come back? Hew is sexiest man on TV.

  12. i miss stabler on the show him and olivia r like bonnie and clyde…its just not the same when the other is not there….i love stabler and olivia

  13. I am so sad that Christopher Meloni is no longer on Law and Order Special Victims Unit. It was my favorite show. It needs Olivia and Benson! Pleae, please, please bring him back. He is worth whatever money he wants! It is not the same show w/o him!

  14. i wish that they would bring him back. but hay it is all mia. he is thinking about coming back for seson 14 it said and he said yes it so him and olivia could be parnters again and have a good contact

  15. but he said also that olivia amd himself could have a good parntership in this show

  16. I hated the way the season ended and now we have to wait to see what happens to Oliva.

  17. I won’t watchwithout Meloni. I disliked Danni who was on for a few episodes. It won’t be right without STabler.

  18. He’s a great actor. But, his talent has only been displayed in “OZ” and an obscure movie named “The Souler Opposite”. I hated SVU. The writing was just god awful. I stopped watching after a few episodes. I always though he should play Stanley in a stage production of “A Streetcar Named Desire”. It seems like a tailor made role for him.

  19. These major networks keep blowing it with us fans. I actually have stopped watching any new series that air on either, NBC,CBS,ABC. The reason I made that choice is because I was so tried of loving a show then it ends up canceled. I’m pretty sore still about ABC canceling 666 Park AVE…
    Loved that show but I guess the greedy fat cats at ABC decided that they needed more money! Very disappointing. Now I’ve been watching old SVU episodes on USA and im irritated Elliot is gone. This sorta stuff is why I quit watching the major networks. I wish I could watch Hannibal on nbc, but I don’t wanna be let down again.

    • I feel the same about the major networks. All these KLUTZY, stupid reality shows. I, too, watch all the reruns of the Law and Order franchise on cable. You haven’t missed a thing by not watching Hannibal. I can’t stand the actor who plays Hannibal Lectner. NBC and ABC are totally worthless while CBS still has SOME worthwhile shows. Notice I said SOME. I find TNT and USA to have better shows than the big 3.

  20. These major networks keep blowing it with us fans. I have stopped watching any new series that airs on either, NBC,CBS,ABC. I was so tried of loving a show then it ends up canceled. I’m pretty sore still about ABC canceling 666 Park AVE…
    Loved that show but I guess the greedy fat cats at ABC decided that they needed more money! Very disappointing. Now I’ve been watching old SVU episodes on USA and im irritated Elliot is gone. This sorta stuff is why I quit watching the major networks. I wish I could watch Hannibal on nbc, but I don’t wanna be let down again.

    • Agh…im sorry it posted twice. I had an error after the first comment so it shouldn’t have published. Sorry about that.

    • Sorry for the double post. Total accident.

  21. Danny Pina is doing a great job on svu Law & Order. Show must go on!!!

    • hey you need to bring back stabler back to law@orders.v.u. not the same show…

  22. I jsut tuned in and miss chris Maloni. I will not be watching current epistodes much longer. it is not the same.

  23. So far NBC has been clever…It took a little while to get use to Danni, but he has that same type of attitude as Stabler….I’m beginning to like him! As for Mariska, she needs to cut her hair…the long hair makes her look old and wrinkled. As for the new girl I like her tough personality…a bit like Mariska…I think with time if watchers don’t give up they will enjoy the show again…I didn’t give up and I do like it…What about the actor who was in charge of the office?

  24. I’ve tried watching the new svu. It’s not even close to the same without Elliot… I only watch the re-runs now. Stabler and Benson really kept it interesting. Munch and fin are great but Elliott and Olivia are what made me tune in loyally. Plus Christopher Meloni is soooo hot!!!!!