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. chuck says:

    Personaly im glad he’s gone. Seemed like Mariska was having to babysit him because he would through his temper tantrums all the time. But the way they wrote him out talking about him shooting a teenage girl & whether it Was good shot or not. I am trying to play over last season in my head & just can’t remember this storyline. Regardless im glad to see him go. Would have rather saw him go out fighting for his job. Not just have the chief call Benson in to say he turned in his papers.

  2. Ernest says:

    Stalber and Olivia are SVU. Ice T is good, but he cannot save the show. It will be strange watching it without them on it. Add bringing Jennifer Love-Hewitt in, it spells the end of the road. She could not act in Ghost Whisperer, so why are they trying to bring her into a fan favorite show?

  3. Gloria R says:

    I have watched the show since it’s premier. I like Christopher’s character but recently I have come not to like Mariska’ character she is overbearing and the way she communicates with the rest of the character sometimes could be disrespectful. I believe she should be the one to go not Christopher M . Keep him

  4. Robert says:

    I am deeply disappointed with Christopher been tossed from the show. Another successful series wrecked by the network!! I won’t be watching anymore, I tried tonight but it sucked big time!!!!

  5. cy says:

    They did the same with Goren and Eames. Hey network head, how did that work out for you? Think you know better than your audience, how quickly you forget. SVU “is” Stabler and Benson. Without them, there is no SVU.

  6. Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay ARE Law and Order/SVU. With one leaving and the other only part-time, there is no L&O/SVU. It certainly won’t be the same and I won’t watch it.

    I say, pay Chris Meloni whatever he demands (he is worth every penny) and have him return to the show; otherwise, the show is DOOMED FOR FAILURE.


  7. Judy says:

    I love Meloni but Danny Pinot ain’t no slouch and will be a great fit. Now if they kill off the Olivia character it oughta be even better. I don’t see JLH as back fill but the remaining cast is strong. Best wishes to the new season!

  8. Gia says:

    I am speechless! This is a bunch of bologna! Meloni did not think of his loyal fans! this show might as well be canceled I am never watching this show again! STABLER + BENSON = LOVE
    BOO HOO :'(

  9. kevin says:

    He was the bust person on the show. I will not be watching it again. This blows

  10. carl says:

    They may as well cancel the show without either of them. This is just like when they tried to get rid of the guy from criminal intent… There’s no substitution for the originals.

  11. CATHI B. says:


  12. Tiffany says:

    This is soo sad, being a huge fan since the show started its soo crazy to think or watch the show without him!! BOOOO to anyone who says its a good idea, these people are what makes SVU soo good! And I hope Jennifer Love doesn’t join, (GAG) its be better to end the show then deal with her dramatic teary a*s!! Just saying….

  13. J Wise says:

    Elliot and Liv are like family. Munch and Ice T are great but it just won’t be the same. No one can replace the duo…the show should end on top not when it falls to the bottom. Big mistake.

  14. Kelly says:

    I tend to agree if you get rid of the Det. Benson (MH) I will truly never watch another episode. You need to bring back Det. Stabler at any cost. Actors the viewers watch make the producer and etc. their money. Get rid of them both you might as well just cancel the show.

  15. judy says:

    The show will never be the same again, they are the stars so if one or both leave then it makes no sense the show carry on. No stars no show. Get back Chris Meloni

  16. vintage says:

    Ok, I had to research what happened, since I do not watch much TV, BUT do catch SVU when possible! Okay, very sad to see Elliot MIA, and now to hear Mariska’s leaving??? I do love Iced Tea, no doubt about that, but SVU w/o Elliot and Benson, this makes me sad! Very sad.

  17. stephanie says:

    The new season isn’t nearly as good as it was with stabler. I won’t probably watch it as much. The reruns are defintley better!!!

  18. LaVerne Mayock says:

    I will not watch this show without Stabler and/or Benson and especially if that no talent Jennifer Love Hewitt is brought on!!!!!! Of all the shows on TV this is one of the ONLY one I watch… The only one who has a GREAT cast, change no one – they all make this program what it is… BIG MISTAKE if you all change ANYTHING!

  19. claudia says:

    What happened to Stabler? I can’t find the story line….OMG I was so shocked tonight. Someone please answer!

  20. Katline Bazile says:

    i totally agree with Gillian. i LOVE Stabler and now hes gone. i don’t even want to watch it anymore. SVU was my favorite law and order. i’m only holding on for Benson, if she leaves, goodbye SVU. *tear*tear*

  21. colletra says:

    I just saw the 2nd episode of the 13th season, they brought on Danny Pino. I love him from ” Cold Case” I think he will do a terrific job on SVU. I will still watch it because I love great detective shows.

  22. jade says:

    Just watched L&A SVU. It is definitely not the same. Fin, Munch, Olivia, Elliott, and the chief are a great together. Watching these other misfits is painful like a pulling teeth.

  23. maria says:

    Oh em gee…This is my fav show I cant believe there geting rid of stabler and benson.. I guess I got to stick to the marathons. This will be the last season thats sad to say what were these people thinking!!

  24. HannahBanana says:

    I am soooo pissed off that 2 of the main characters are leaving…SVU will just not be the same without them. I’m an avid fan of the show and it’ll be break my heart to see the show go down the tubes like so many others that i’ve liked in the past. Give our actors what they want… we pay enough for cable to keep these programs going so pay them

  25. Tereasa says:

    I have watched svu since the beginning. Wont be watching it anymore. Loved Elliot Stabler.

  26. Dottie Parker says:

    Personally I wasn’t very impressed last night watching SVU because Elliott was not there.Too bad I was a faithful viewer, but now probably won’t watch as much. Now Olivia is the only reason I may tune in!

  27. Jessie says:

    What happened to stabler? Did he die?

  28. Jessie says:

    The probloem when shows run this long is that the main actors start wanting to leave. But because there are still other relatively main characters on the show (3 I believe), the people in charge of the show probably think it can still work, which yes, to a small extent that is true. But when main characters/ actors leave, too often shows become less and less good!

  29. Elizabeth says:

    The Stabler character requires someone like Chris Meloni for the series to work. The new guy seems to be wooden ! the stabler character showed all the signs in his personal life, as that of many police personnel i know of in the uk. Not all cops are handsome and softly spoken esp when they work in the svu unit. pity that the NBC, in its wisdom has decided to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Benson and Stabler work really well 2gether and share a wide range of emotions not forced, plastic ones that are appearing on the show currently with new cast members.This series is about a sensitive [subject/s]covering a wide range of abuse, Not murder she wrote.NBC should have dug in their pockets a little deeper. shame on you.

  30. Daryl says:

    Come on people ! Get a life . This is a T.V. show , not real-life . The only value of this show is entertainment .If anyone is going to miss out on something , it’s going to be Chris Meloni not getting a pay-cheque for a while . He doesn’t know you or care about you and he isn’t going to miss you . His life is moving on . Six pages of sob stories is a real threat to the T.V. networks isn’t it .

  31. nancy schiltz says:

    lAW AND ORDER SVU bonk bonk bonk. It was my favorite show for 15 years. Now without the Chemistry between Maryska and Christophen the show SUCKS.

  32. nancy schiltz says:

    Law & Order SVU without Christopher Maloni is gone for good. It won’t make it another year. Maryska is great but it was the synergistic relationship betweeen her and Christopher that made it believealbe.

    Is Christopher Maloni dying of Cancer, is that why he quit????

    I’m certain that if Wolf wrote him out he was writing his own death warrent as a writer.

    What is going on. I will watch the reruns but forget it. I will not watch Law and Order SVU until Chris Malone comes back. Lets all send a petition to NBC. Please.

  33. Angela says:

    really ridiculous to take him off.. very upsetting!!! I agree will never watch it again if olivia is removed!!!

  34. Dawn says:

    How did they write stabler out of the show?

  35. Dawnmarie says:

    Do you know how they wrote stabler out of the show?

  36. Jay says:

    I was very sad to know that the original cast of SVU was changed. I watched the new episode and did not like it, feels incomplete without Maloni, that was the last episode I will watch of SVU. My co-workers feel the same way… It’s a shame! : (

  37. Sheridan says:

    I refuse to watch SVU after season 12, you can’t make 12 seasons of a show and then replace the two main characters. It Killed the show!

  38. Darren says:

    It’s not svu without stabler I hope the show falls and gets taken off the air can’t afford him it’s bull my family and I will never watch the show again unless stabler comes back. Ps I hope the ratings drop worse than k-fed

  39. Autum says:

    I will not watch svu without Elliot or Olivia. They are the only reason I’ve watched it for years! Your killing the show without them.!! What are you thinking?
    Jennifer really??? Come on. Is will never fill Olivia’s shoes!!! Never in a million years!!! And that goes for Elliot too. No one will have his spunk and good looks!!!!

  40. Collin says:

    Wentworth Miller sounds good but they already casted Danny Pino and that cute chick from US Marshalls.

  41. Collin says:

    FWIW, I do like both characters, Elliott and Mariska are great and I think they left the door open for stabler to come back.

  42. Me says:

    Suck it bitch they ruined this show by breaking up a killer cast and bringing in some spigger to replace meloni.

  43. irma says:

    I agree if mariska and Benson leave the show its not worth watching anymore cuz the two bring more feeling and action to the show.

  44. Auri says:

    Wait. I really wanna know what happened to him. Did he just leave, like get fired? Or did he die on the show? I missed the last couple episodes in the last season when I was moving and I finally got comfortable with Elliot and Olivia!!

  45. Bonnie Hubbard says:

    Elliot and Olivia are the perfect team I love them two together. This is my favorite show with them as partners, very disappointed with this outcome.Probably won~t watch it anymore without Elliot.

  46. glo says:

    It will drop viewers like crazy

  47. Kevin says:

    Just like Law and Order Criminal Intent. NBC just made a big mistake. I don’t care who they try to add in it won’t be the same. I used to work for GE and I love the company but they are sometimes clueless. One of their contractors who used to be a part of GE until they were sold. The now contractor has been ripping GE off and again they are clueless.

    It won’t be long until the show bombs without Stabler. TV Execs are morons. The two biggest clueless groups of people are TV Execs and Governements.

  48. Ashley says:

    Wth! now ur gettin rid of benson? y try to fix something tht isnt broken! i will never watch the show again if they get rid of more the original actors. the ahow just isnt the same without elliot stabler. wht is wrong here why take away the to main leads n try to bring someone else in? all the sudden too! 13 seasons and now they want to change things. well they have a rude awaking cause in their show b gona be watched in my house ever again. u just lost a faithful veiwer SVU!

  49. Stephanie says:

    SVU is going to go down the drain now.

    It would be different if they did it early on – but in the 13th season make such a dramatic change? Not gonna fly.

    I won’t watch anymore.

  50. Cheryl says:

    I will not watch SUV any more I am a fan that has watched this from the begining . If elliot stabler does not come back then you have lost a big consumer and lage fan.