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. cheryl says:

    Dick wolf is not going to have very many watchers they are mad bring back stabler.

  2. Charity says:

    Bring Stabler back!!!! :'(

  3. Darren says:

    Dick u suck.

  4. Deborah D. says:

    I have been watching SVU for so long and love Benson and Stabler and that damn good prosecuter all the effort fans put in watching the show deserve to see Meloni being wrote out…hey one of the scenes was him getting HIV from touching a victim’s without gloves that’s one way of writing him off give us fans a chance to see him the last time on the show after all if it wasn’t for the fans would the show exist.I have cried watching some of scenes from SVU and somes has really touch home and just everyday life for some of us I’m sure…so do the right thing and write Meloni off the right way. Meloni it’s not the same without seeing you….A True Fan

  5. Janice says:

    I have been watching the new episodes and it’s not the same. They are good actors but without Chris it really isnt that good anymore

  6. Ine says:

    I’ll definetly miss Chris Meloni!!
    But Mariska’s STILL on the show, and LOVE her <3
    so won't stop watching!!!!!

  7. Joyce says:

    I watched one episode with the new actors and I agree with the majority of comments. Even though Mariska was in the episode, it wasn’t the same without Christopher. All the original actors are perfect for the character they played and should continue together. I’ve been a fan for a long time too, but probably not anymore.

  8. J Dunn says:

    I AM IN THE MINORITY. I too like Chris & Mariska, but I very much like Ice-T & Belzer as well. I have always enjoyed the rare episodes when Fin & Munch took point on the plot. LET’S SEE MORE of the ADVENTURES of FIN & MUNCH!!!

  9. dave says:

    That is an awesome idea. Why did nobody else think of that. FIN AND MUNCH-FIN AND MUNCH-FIN AND MUNCH

  10. nicolette tolbert says:

    I looooovvvveeeeee sculpture have every season but if Elliot and Olivia leave the show will Never be the same I won’t watch it!!!!

  11. L.F. Davis says:

    I love the SVU with the original Characters!!! As soon as I saw that Stabler was gone and then heard that Benson may be leaving I was crushed. These are the bread and butter of the show and with them gone I really believe the show will not last.
    I am a huge fan of Chritopher Meloni, is he doing any other shows or movies?
    So lost without the SVU we all know and love….

  12. Hana says:

    I think they should make fin and munch the leads the episodes where they are were always my favorites anyway…. Ice T is the reason I watch this show same goes for belzer who I’ve watched since his Baltimore days on homicide life on the street!

  13. Kay says:

    I mean really what the heck is going on. I work out of town so I DVR everything. I was watching the last 2 episodes of last season the started to watch this season. Had to find out the hard way Stabler was gone, I have deleted the rest of the shows and deleted my future scheduled recordings. After a while it wont be anything on tv to watch. :-(

  14. Andie says:

    Well they lost my friends and I as die hard viewerd….and will loose more adding JLH. Who wants to see her?… how is that a trade off for a strong male lead? Im pissed. You suck!! Hope your show goes under now.

  15. violet rutherford says:

    hi i was very sad to ear that stabler has gone as my family loved him to bits and we will miss him very much i dont think it will be the same with out him i have watched it with out him but i don.t know if i like the new guy he was good in cold case but i don.t think he will make a stabler i feel sorry for benson she looks sad with out him
    maybe the new ones will grow on us
    violet rutherford

  16. Ximena says:

    I would like Chris Meloni in the serie. I guess it wouldn’t be the same without him.

  17. Shari snow says:

    I think Elliott adds a very sexy role but without Olivia I have watched my last episode. Major screwup folks

  18. Brookiec says:

    Elliot is the only “real man” character on television these days because Meloni is the only “real man” actor on the small screen! Seriously; women are in desperate need of more testosterone in dramatic roles…we are sick of the skinny-jeaned, perfect looking, slightly built male (?) actors. Bring him back or I’m done with SVU.

  19. RobertH says:

    Why are people lauding a Fin & Munch lead?

    Munch I agree should have his character expanded, but Ice-T? Couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag!

    Bring back Sharon Stone?

    God they’d have to replace the scenery every week!

    SVU is doomed without Benson & Stabler.

    I despair, I really do.

    Execs huh?

  20. saylerdawg says:

    i will never watch SVU again if Benson leaves. im already having a hard time watching it without Stabler!

  21. gabriella says:

    Don’t care for the show anymore…. Let it be cancelled…. No more stabler or Olivia then no more svu…… Ice t still the man

  22. Niecy says:

    I have been a loyal L&A SVU fan since the beginning. I have tried to watch the show without Stabler. I can’t and won’t. I’m done and will only watch when there are marathons on.

  23. Deborah says:

    if chris melonie leaves the show it wont be the same him and mariska hagerty iswhat makes the show along with the other charecters if they both leave that will be the end of me watching the show

  24. lindal says:

    i agree with all comments except the ones that think stabler and benson won’t be missed! i’ll have stick to the reruns on tnt.

  25. Nicole Johnsom says:

    Honestly, the show is a lot better with Stabler. The network should have just thrown in the towel and kept him on. I have watched two episodes and he is deeply missed. Now it seems as if Benson’s relevance has deminished and I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the show. Also, there are just too many people trying to work one case somebody has to go. The chic from Georgia needs to get on the “mid night train”.

  26. HDS says:

    Well, I have not bothered watch SVU this season at all. I liked the cast as it was and Pino really doesn’t have what it takes to replace Meloni. Just won’t work.

  27. NiKiTa SvU says:

    tHiS Is KraYziE!!!! JeNNiFeR L. HeWiTT???!!! SERIOUSLY??!! ThEy ShoULd JuSt CaNceL tHe ShOw. I wOuLdN’T WaNt iT tO EveR HaVe Bad RaTinGs & iF tHeY Don’T Cancel, tHatS wHat WiLL HaPPen. I ONLY wAtCh TV Cuz Of L&O SVU. iTs VERY Sad fOr Me tHo. i’Ve WatCheD iT SiNce iT aiReD :,,,((

  28. ELIZABETH58 says:

    I’m just thankful Munch seems to be in it still! I don’t believe any actor is bigger than the rest of the show, which will go on and before long it’ll be “who’s Stabler? I remember the name but can’t picture the face”.

  29. Ash says:

    To tell you the truth stabler and Olivia made the show. SVU is their show now stablers gone it’s not the same! And when Olivia leaves I can tell you I’m
    Not got to watch the show anymore! I can sit and watch show after show of SVU because stabler and Olivia make the show these new people just ruin it! :'(

  30. Antoniya says:

    i am sooo mad,i started watching dis,dis year,after i heard bout it,and got hooked,and i have fallen in love with Benson and Elliot,and now i hear there leaving,WAT D HELL!! i am sooo mad.i not watching it without them,i mean if one was going maybe but both,hell no

  31. Laura says:

    I NEED MY STABLER!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Marlene DeMaertelaere says:

    I am a big fan of SVU. The reason I am a big fan is the Stabler character. As far as I am concerned Chris Meloni is Stabler. Now that he is gone, I am no longer interested in watching the show!!

  33. Kealani says:

    To bring in Jennifer Love Hewitt would be an insult to our intelligence Dig deeper, there better actors out there!!

  34. Terry K says:

    Its very upsetting that Chris Meloni wont return he made the show worth watching

  35. Terry K says:

    I so agree with out stabler the show went from my favourite to a show I will no longer watch I’m so sad

  36. Kimberly Allred says:

    I have been following both Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay since the very begining of their careers. They are the whole reason I watch SVU. The show isn’t the same without Chris and I miss him so much, but I support his choices as do I with Mariska Hargitay. They made SVU what it is and now it will never be the same. If Mariska leaves I won’t watch it anymore but the reruns they are in. Chris is happy you all don’t be upset he gave us 12 awesome years be happy about that. Chris and Mariska are number 1 in my book and always will be. I just want them to be happy and they are and that’s all that matters.

  37. Charli says:

    Over the years, I, along with many others, have grown to love Stabler and Benson. Now that Christopher Meloni is leaving, its almost like losing a family member, that is how attached I’ve become to the characters. My favorite TV show has now become something I can’t watch without wanting to turn off. Sad, but true: the show will probably not make it through season 13. :(

  38. Jessica says:

    I donte think its a good idea to take off mariska because she is so good at playing on SVU. She is the only reason I like it. :(

  39. Jessica says:

    I donte think the show will be wached without mariska.

  40. Augustina Diaz says:

    I was shocked when I watched the first episode of the season and found out Eliot was not there any more and wasn’t coming back,and if Olivia (mariska) is not going to be on the show I will not be watching.im a big fan of the both of them. Very sad.

  41. Luca says:

    I agree with you, the show truly revolves around them, their chemistry and friendship…I love them both fir eachother…ugh…:(

  42. Bob Garibay says:

    Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay have a great chemistry between them. The show has went downhill since Chris left. Whowever is making changes should be sacked! If Mariska leaves, we won’t watch the show anymore. We hope that they make a new T.V together.

  43. Fat Arsed Harrison says:


  44. Denta says:

    This is a really dumb move on NBC’s part. If they’re going to get rid of Stabler, they should just end the show altogether. They could do a television movie and (in addition to all the other SVU plot twists) explore a romance between Benson and Stabler.

    As another poster on here said, the other Law & Order incarnations can support cast changes because there is more emphasis on the cases themselves. But SVU does delve into the character’s personal lives. This is one of the reasons why the show is so much BETTER than the other ones.

  45. dally edwards says:

    This is very upsetting. . Meloni was the main reason I watched the show wit his fine ass!!! Guess ill watch the re runs. . Its been a good 12 seasons tho. . I have no complaints. . Been watching it since I was a little girl. . How sad

  46. madeline kenefic says:

    I am so disappointed that Meloni will be leaving Bluebloods he and Mariska make the show and I doubt I will be watching once they both leave. I still did not find out why Meloni is leaving. Madeline Kenefic

  47. shanea says:

    I love olivia and stabbler …olivias performances were always heart felt they have always made the perfect couple and was the reason that the show was great u can’t have one without the other and to lose both would be to lose the shows momentum

  48. anca visan says:

    Im definitely not planning to be tuning in anymore once hes gone…especially after they replace her leadingrole as well

  49. Kandice robinson says:

    I am a HUGE fan of Law and Order SVU and Criminal Intent. I absolutely love Stabler and Olivia and Goren and Eames. I was SVU reruns all day Tuesday on USA and CI reruns all day Monday. I own ever hard copy on DVD and I must say it’s not just the plot like the other person said early but the character make the show. I love seing stabler and Olivia together and if one of them is gone I will no longer be an SVU fan. It killed me when Olivia went on that assignment and the blonde chick became stablers partner the 2 of them did not fit together. I will be extremely devastated.

  50. Markeshia says:

    If they do that im going to be pissed off