Exclusive: Chris Meloni Exits Law & Order: SVU

Chris Meloni will not be reporting back for duty when Law & Order: Special Victims Unit launches its 13th season this fall, TVLine has learned exclusively.

Protracted talks between the actor — who has played Detective Stabler since the NBC crime drama’s 1999 debut — and studio NBC Universal broke down on Tuesday, says a source. Franchise creator Dick Wolf is said to already be searching for a big name to bring in opposite the series’ female lead, Mariska Hargitay.

Hargitay’s own deal to return for Season 13 remains unaffected.

Just last week, new NBC boss Robert Greenblatt told TVLine he felt the network was in “pretty great shape” as far as Meloni’s prospective deal goes, though he did allow for the possibility of SVU one day moving forward minus its two original leads. In fact, there was very recently talk that Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer) might join the series midway through the coming season to replace Hargitay.

“Jennifer Love is somebody we’ve been circling,” Greenblatt told us, “but I don’t know that that is going to happen at all.”

An NBC spokesperson had no comment for this story.

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  1. Vivian says:

    I like Mariska however, without Chris the show will tank. Chris is the reason I watch.

  2. tracy says:

    Will someone please confirm that the episodes…rescue,branded & merchandise were aired before season 12?

  3. Hitme7 says:

    This is a load of crap!! They don’t need to leave!! If they leave and y’all won’t stop them then.. I got news for you your going broke because the ratings and viewers are going down the toilet!!! Miss you Elliot and Olvia, go open a new show it would be awesome!!

  4. ms. fabre' says:

    i will not be watching the new episodes. i have been waiting for the new season to come on every since the last show of the last season had ended. this was my favorite show, very very sad :( to see it go down like this.

  5. Valerie says:

    I don’t mind so much that Detective Stabler is leaving. Just don’t “kill” him. You can promote him, relocate him, or retire him. But don’t kill him. Okay? Good!

  6. lori speciale says:

    Ridiculous! Meloni has a huge fan base. He’s the reason most people watch the show. What a shame that they think people are so replaceable. Stupid move.

  7. Sophie Zissis says:

    I just can’t believe the news!? How can Chris leave and Mariska? There doen’t seem to be any given reasons for their exists but to repeat what everyone else has already said…NO Chris or Mariska NO SVU. You can’t replace that special ‘charisma’ that an actor brings to a role coz they make the show’s success. Losing them will definitely mean the show will die off… I feel devastated. Chris and Mariska were my TV heros. They were the perfect team…and Chris is just so viewable! Aaagh…that’s really bad news!

  8. Janice says:

    If Chris Meloni leaves then I will no longer watch L&O SVU. Chris & Mariska are the show. Without those two there is no SHOW!

  9. Kathy says:

    I guess that without Chris Meloni as Stabler I won’t be watching and there is no doubt that if Hargitay goes I am defintiely not even going to think about giving the show a try this season. Sorry NBC…but you sucked on this one!

  10. Karen peck says:

    It won’t be the same,the writers are really going to have to go the extra mile,to keep us loyal fans interested.

  11. If Elliot leaves i will never watch this show again….in fact if elliot or olivia leaves i will stop watching…they made the show what it is and if they leave the show will never be the same again love them…..they are a little fresh off the camera too…..love it!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Debra says:

    I’m a tried and true fan of SVU but without Stabler, I’m out… Love mariska but without Christopher Meloni it’s ruined. Bad call on their part to let him go.

  13. Cierra Jobe says:

    I have watched every episode since Season 1 epispde 1 and Now Elliot is leaving. This is messed up.. Maybe they should have put Y!!!!!!!!!This is just soo sad. I am really going to miss him.. Him and Liv made the show wat is it. The drama the fights she was his office wife. After everything he is gone. This sucks

  14. Staci Shug says:

    So disappointed to hear that Chris will be leaving and Mariska isnt gonna be on often. They r the show I don’t think it will last with out them. So very very sad cuz SVU is the best show out of all the Law and Orders. :-(

  15. tina says:

    With Stabler gone. The show is going to suck. I did not even watch it when Danni was on it as El’s partner. If Liv leaves also the show might as well be cancelled. El needs to be brought back and if him and Liv decide to leave find a way to write them out.

  16. Kathleen says:

    Say it ain’t so! Why mess with proven success? You can’t tell mr that SVU doesn’t make enough money to make everyone happy?

  17. Silvana says:

    This season will not last!!! They need to get him back!!! It will not be the same!!!!

  18. Teresa says:

    It will not be the same without stabler bring him back

  19. Lori Robinson says:

    I’m so sad that we didn’t even get to see him say goodbye, I will say this Mariska is now the only reason Im still watching, if she leaved to, then I’m done! And I’ve seen every episode., them together made the show, so disappointed

  20. Rita says:

    turned on law and order svu and to my suprise did not see elliott stabler, turned the tv off as soon as new cast was presented. To bad I really enjoyed this program from the beginning and the character of stabler was an important one. Good luck with the rest of the series, it will never make it

  21. Donna w says:

    well I was a big fan of law & order SUV however now that stabler is gone. There is no reason to watch it. He made the show both stabler & Benson were the perfect partners. Bye bye SUV you just lost a fan since the show first started. Good luck Chris I am sure you will be successful no matter where you go. If you do another cop show I’m there to watch

  22. Law&order "junkie" says:

    Say it ain’t so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are writting him out as they fire stabler becuz of his anger( I’m watching it now)….wow! I’m done! This was the only L&O left that was worth watching. Smh

  23. Kay says:

    I will not watch the show again. The chemistry between the 2 made the show. Chris Meloni can not be replaced. Very bad judgement on the part of the people behind this move.

    • Joe Whitley says:

      I agree with you Kay that the chemisty between Olivia & Elliot made the show. There is no L&O without them. I watched it the other night & probably won’t be watching it again without Elliot as it lacked so much. They need to get out the checkbook and give him the $$$ he deserves before the show sinks.

  24. Feathers says:

    Simple decision for me. If Chris and Marissa go, I go.

  25. Stabler fan says:

    I would still watch the show if it was the other way around; Olivia quiting and Elliot staying. I think he could easily have a connection with anyone else, whereas Olivia is simply dependant on him. Not to say she’s unnecessary, because no other lead could ever do better than the originals, but Elliot is a much more independent character.

  26. tina says:

    Just watched season premiere and it was not worth watching. Liv’s character was not the same. Will not watch again unless bring El back and Liv stays.

  27. Charleegirl says:

    I have 2 agree w everyone, now that CM is gone, & possibly loosing MH, its not worth continuing. I have 2 admit those 2 were SVU, they made the show. I don’t think Jennifer could ever b MH, so get rid of the show now, Jennifer is a bad actress, I just can’t see her as MH, MH is a hard butt, love her, NO ONE CAN B HER, & there is NO ACTOR THAT COULD EVER TAKE CHRIS’ PLACE, he is the man. Love that man, Dang I can’t believe his gone, I just found out 2nite.

  28. Carrie B says:

    Can ANYone seriously see SVU succeed with Ashton Kutcher (yes, I know he’s goin to replace ol’ Charley…still doubting that one…) Or someone like him trying to LEAD with J.L.Hewitt??? REALLY??? Not enough dimensions to either of them to carry the show, even with the terrific supporting actors already there.
    ***At least have Meloni show as a guest star on the final episode of the season with Hargitay, Ice, and Munch, and just call it a wrap.
    SVU was always my preference of L&Os, C.I. once in a while… And Terrence Howard..love ya in some of your movies man, but I just can’t really get into those mostly monotone threats to even begin to take that show anywhere near as seriously as SVU…Meloni and Hargitay specifically- they have the chemistry and presence to make it work.
    I’m gonna miss watchin em- that’s for sure. Wondering what will come next tho…. I am enjoying Harry’s Law tho!

  29. toots says:

    If Meloni leaves, I won’t be watching either.
    Get the cast together or cancel show, especially if Hargitey leaves too.

  30. Seth says:

    In my opinion Christopher Meloni was the show. He was always in the middle of the conflict and thats what madee the show so amazing. There just ruining an awesome series

  31. Kathy70 says:

    I agree, it’s already completely boring and Marishka has on too much makeup! Come back Chris! Come back!

  32. Maj says:

    Meloni and Mariska are the show, how can we watch somting is not there.

  33. Donna says:

    Are you guys crazy…Without Stabler I will not watch the show,dont get me wrong the other actors are good, but without Benson and Stabler the show wont be worth watching. I have watched this show from the start.Without Benson and Stabler it will be a wash. For the sake of the show bring him back..and let Stabler and Benson handle it.

  34. skeeter Martinez says:

    I am not very happy that chris is leaving the show he was a big part of the show and I may not watch much now that he is gone. I think that you are a damn idiot for letting him walk. We all should flood the new NBC boss with letters and phone calls…


  35. Unique says:

    Are u serious? Cnt believe stabler is gone. IM COMPLETELY UNINTERESTED IN THE SHOW NOW, AND I WAS OBSESSED WITH IT. Characters Stabler and Benson made the show! Law and order svu HAS LOST ANOTHER FAN!

  36. LYNNE-- AN OLD LADY says:

    LOVE the character of Elliot Stabler..and Chris Meloni has always
    put his all into this role. He was also great on OZ..where I first
    saw him . He will be seriously missed on SVU. The pros of him leaving…will be that more screen time can be given to ICE and to Richard Belser. ( Munch and Finn. )

  37. mari says:

    the dynamic between Benson and Stabler is what kept me watching… Last nights episode was crushing… so sad to see him go

  38. Holli Taylor says:

    I will not watch the show without Chris! He and Olivia are a team that should not be apart. Besides, nobody can rough someone up with such sex appeal than Elliot!

  39. Roberta says:

    I am shell shocked about losing chris meloni and soon mariska to. They better fix things I understand mariska wanting more time for her children so her just half a season is understandable but Chris no. You can’t change the cast of SVU or you will lose all watchers. NBC better get there act together and get chris back and Lisa from House also. I won’t watch anymore if they don’t fix this and many others feel the same. It will go down as a major flop if they don’t and jennifer to come in to replace olivias character please shes not bad butt enough to even consider that. This is just sad.

  40. Pattie says:

    I think taking stabler off tge show is a huge mistake I have watched the show since it aired after taking him off I will never watch it again

  41. Robert says:

    Its about time he left. His character was old and run out. Olivia too. Maybe we can finally focus on the plot and the story and solving the crime not on the silly Elliot-Benson drama.

  42. Katie says:

    I definitely will not watch if they replace Olivia’s character with Jennifer… That will be the collapse of SVU! It’s sad CM left. I didn’t think I’d ever see the day they would change those two characters… So so sad! They have an awesome crew with Olivia, Stabler, Munch, and Fin. Don’t fix it if it’s not broken!

  43. Isabelle says:

    SVU is not going to be the same. I dont even see the point in watching it anymore.

  44. christina cormier says:

    i hope chris can come back i will still watch the show but i dont think it will stay on without him or mariska if she leaving

  45. Sharon Blancke says:

    I don’t know how any producer can think that replacing any character(s) that have been on a show for along time will ever be the same. Elliot and Olivia have quite a wonderful chemistry on this show. I am sure the ratings will go dow. I haved loved that show since the beginning because of these two and I would have hoped that they could have somehow received new contracts. I don’t if I will continue to watch. Very sad.

  46. June Mackie says:

    Am disappointed that Chris Meloni will not be returning as Elliot Stabler. Be interesting to see how they write up his absence. Not sure it will work with Olivia and a new partner cos the chemistry with Elliot was something special. However if you were in a real police unit, partners come and go so its feasible that Elliot Stabler moves on. Will watch new series cos I do believe that it is bigger than the stars but as they say the jury is out until I have watched it.

  47. Jaye says:

    Watched the season opener and I like that Stabler was not killed so there is a chance for him to come back. I have watched from the beginning also and I don’t see how they can let them leave. I don’t like Jennifer replacing anyone. They need a man just as seaxy as Stabler to replace him and make sure they have a good connection with Benson and if she leaves bring a believable woman that has a good vibe with the new man…… but Ice-T is my man so I’ll keep watching til he is gone?

  48. Dee says:

    Why do these producers think we are all about big name stars. We were fine with M.H and C.M and I didn’t know who they were before the show. These people make the show, Olivia and Elliott were meant for this show and now some one else comes in just and takes over what they have accomplished! Who cares about younger or big name people? .. Who wants to see Jennifer Love Hewitt? Let her stick to her nonsense show! …Look at what happened to the other Law and Order shows, they aren’t doing any better with new cast. Leave our shows alone!!!!!!!

  49. JC Crews says:

    No Stabler, no SUV for me!