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. Sam Evert says:

    I never watched Two and a Half Men without Charlie Sheen, I will never watch SVU without Chris Meloni. Wolf you are an IDIOT!

  2. Cristina says:

    You know? it seems that everytime there is a good show on TV. somebody goes and changes things. Why did you change Chris Meloni? He made the show; his looks , character being a good cop and trying to be a good fathr. He was great. Become part of our lives. No other show has an actor like him. He is super, great looking and smart. Why did yo change it? Now is not interesting, I dont whatch the whole thing, it just doesnot make sense. They can imitate4 his character but no, it does not work. I hope he can start on a show with another network and shine like he did in LAW and Order. I thing that you will regret it. Because he will. He is great.

  3. shanna says:

    I have watched Law and Order SVU since the beginning. I can honestly say that this is my favorite show. But no matter how much I like it, Elliot is by far my favorite character. Without him or detective benson, I will be lost as a viewer. Elliot IS the show for me. I love his temper and his feelings towards all the cases. My favorite shows are when he is the main character solving it. They are making a HUGE mistake taking him away and I hope they lose a crap load of viewers.

    • Crystal says:

      I completely agree with you! It is my favorite show and those two characters have played a big part in making it my favorite.

  4. linda lonon says:

    i am so angry with you guys ,about elliot stabler leaving the show .i am a SVU junkie and now you got my nerves on edge. ilove every one at svu. there is nopartners like elliot and olivia.please bring elliot(chris meloni).back i will continue to watch svu because of the actors.if its not broke dont fix it. cant we all just get along.i pray chris back. iwill keep you in my prayers forchris meloni and the producers.linda lonon from brenham texas.

  5. Linda says:

    Reconsider taking these two off the show or you’re ratings will drop drastically! They make the show and are great together. You won’t see me watching if they are gone!

  6. Crystal says:

    How can they even take Stabler off the show? I agree, cancel it. Stabler and Olivia were a pair, without one, let alone both, its pointless to even be there. It’s not the same, and it wont be the same. I dont think I am even capable of watching it without them.

  7. smjones says:

    thanks n.b.c the nobody channel! and dick wolf! the only reason folks look at the channel was svu! so hopefully they will get it together before its to late! s.o.s save our station!

  8. Susan Verre says:

    Eillot Stabler I Miss You In My Heart Angel Love Susan Verre.

  9. Susan Verre says:

    ELLiot Stabler You Look Very HandSome On The Show Is Law Order My WonDer Ful Dream Bout You Love Susan Verre # 1 Big Fan

  10. Susan Verre says:

    elloit Stabler I Love Watching You On The Show Is Law Order If You To Be With Susan Verre Same Day Soon Love Susan Verre.

  11. michanda harper says:

    I agree olivia elliot fin n munch along with craygan make the show enjoyable it is by far my favorite show n after elliot leaves i wont watch any NEW episodes

  12. suzie says:

    I agree they should just cancel the show now don’t waste money on keeping it running when no one going to watch it anyway. And just look at criminal intent they took away the crazy cop and brought him back because no one would watch the show with out him

  13. majid says:

    I am really flabberghast that ur killing a perfect svu. Without Elliot, the show is no more enjoyable. Elliot & Benson create the best partners on any show. With the exit of Olivia on the way, I will refrain from watching svu. It will suck because no other actors can act the way these two do. They make the show so real. So hail to the downfall of a perfect show

  14. Diana Ricaurte says:

    I’ve watched SVU since its been on tv and I love this show. I can’t believe Stabler is gone and liv will soon be too and be replaced by Jennifer love Hewitt; are u f**king serious! The show will never be the same. I will still give it a chance bc I love the show for its cases as well so hopefully that will keep me interested…

  15. Noemí Di Donato says:

    Why Chris is not in 2012? What kind of rason?

  16. iris oliver says:

    the show is’nt really good with out Stabler and Benson being together it’s ok . But they dont hold my attention any more . all i watch now now ar repeats they are better maybe they need nwew writers

  17. Dani says:

    I agree I won’t watch the show anymore, no more Stabler?? Possibly no more Benson??? They say they might replace her with Jennifer Love Hewitt. I’m sorry but she is no Benson. This show won’t be on the air to much longer if that is the case. I love Meloni!!!!

  18. Lisa says:

    Well I will say this Benson should kill herself of course Stabler is the real back bone but he is gone Benson is a know it all who knows nothing I am 44 and am truly a Law & Order fan I hate how she jumps around assuming things and is usually wrong and I was praying to see her killed off the show I am a real fan and Love Dick Wolf’s writing and writers for that matter but Benson Is an over bearing she doesnt relate to anyone other her messed up raped mom I think it would be a great close if she was butchered of the show but just once can IAB get her for breaking a rule because she always does …………….HATE OLIVA NOT MARISKA I do know the difference between television and reality but atleast find her a great co star that should could look good under because I am still confused she is a woman who wants to be a man for gods sake Olivia bring your old ass out the closet already. SIGNED NUMER 1 FAN OF STABLER FIN MUNCH AND CRAGEN SORRY IF I MISSPELLED ANYTHING…………………………………………………..SHEA SHEA

  19. Mohammed says:

    I’m not too fussed that Chris Meloni left. I believe it was time and his character wasn’t in it anymore. Having said that, a better job should have been done to write him off the show. Mariska can’t go though. She brings a unique element to the show and her awards for her role in the show is proof of that. She should not be replaced. As for axing the show? I’m dead against that

  20. Tegan says:

    No effing way!!! The whole point of watching the show (for me) was because Olivia and Elliot were awesome partners. Noone, and i mean noone will be able to play them as good as Hartigay and Meloni. WTF is the point of even continuing the show without them?!?!?!

  21. Dansk says:

    August 15, 2012 With all due respect to the current players, Stabler must come back !!! With Finn & Munch. I remember Christopher Meloni from “OZ” days and admired him then. I really don’t care too much about Benson in comparison, but Do NOT even consider whatshername Hewitt as a replacement, she really doesn’t know how to act IMHO. Better to replace Olivia (if she really goes [sad]) with someone brand new to the viewers….I’m also still grieving the loss of “Harry’s Law” & “House”, and way back with “Shark” and James Wood !!! Perhaps I dream too much (sigh)……P.S. think that Stark’s comment last year was a hoot !!! Big reunion of good key characters, maybe all working on a great case ???? The TV ratings would be through the proerbial roof ☺

  22. Theresa radcliffe says:

    I love SUV I too will not be watching it without Chris and I’ve been watching it forever somebody DO SOMETHING OR YOUR GONNA LOSE A LOT OF VIEWERS

  23. Betsey Keck says:

    I must still be living in the 20th century. I have only just discovered that Elliot Stabler has left the show. Like death, I find it totally incomprehensible. The whole cast is so beautifully interrelated they make a perfect unit. I sincerely wish this hadn’t happened. I’m not dumping the show though because Mariska is so good all by herself. Add in Belzer, Ice-T, Dann (am I forgetting someone?) and it is still a program well worth watching.
    Several people have said they were hoping Liv and Elliiot were going to kiss/get-together. It could not have happened. Elliot was married with children. It would have indicated a total lack of ethics and ethics are what the show is built around. Those ethics are what make this series so outstanding. Long live the writers and producers wherever they end up. We could use a lot of of those ethics in every aspect of our lives including politics.
    It’s wonderful to know I’m in such good entertainment company. Let’s keep hanging out together. Okay?

  24. D. Baron says:

    The series is not the same without Chris Meloni, It feel like something is missing. He was the “every day ” guy with family problems, teenagers etc. Bring him back or the season will die. I already stop watching the new episode and watching the old one only !!!!

  25. Dansk says:

    Well, let’s be happy Munsch (Richard Belzer) is still there; another well-developed character in the show. Lisa E. as “Stabler” ? I keep waiting for Dr. House to show up LOL

  26. tila skeete says:


  27. lauren arder says:


  28. Renee Hester says:

    This is unbelievable stabler an Olivia was the only reason I even watch Svu and now that stabler is gone am definitely not going to watch it anymore besides the new episodes are so boring with him not in it and the new guy teaming up with Olivia just doesn’t make it as interesting as stabler did.

  29. Jan says:

    Het is echt kaal zonder Chris Meloni wij nemen altijd de serie op als het in nederland op de tv is.
    Pas ben ik in New York geweest em fotos gemaakt van het court. Wat zou ik graag een keer meedoen in zo’n serie.
    Jammer want de serie liet zo zien hoe belangrijk teamwerk is en daarbij een stukje prive

  30. mike garmon says:

    the show went to …….. without stabler,
    he was the show

  31. Tete says:

    Its already bad stabler left but if Benson leaves i’m permanently cutting law&order svu off!

  32. Jennifer says:

    No matter how good your writers are, there are sometimes, the actor/actresses are just THAT GOOD! This is absolutely one of those times! “Benson & Stabler” are great characters, but Mariska & Christopher make those characters come alive to the viewers! They make the show! Like it or not, your faithful viewers are also loyal to their favorites. “Benson & Stabler” are the favorites, without a doubt! If the network does not fix this, this will be the last season…seems so sad over contract issues! However, just a thought…..if another network were to pick both of them up, it will be my NEW favorite show! After all, I will have some extra time now that SVU is no longer in the mix! Very sad…..😞

  33. I agree with you 100% about Benson and Stabler making the characters come alive for the viewers!You are also correct about the viewers favorites,whether some of us like it or not Benson and Stabler is it for svu,I was saying this all along,Benson and Stabler was ‘THE SQUAD!’I guess whoever is calling the shots figured that they could pull it off with Stabler gone,but the fact remain to this day,that even though the show is not bad and the new detectives are okay,there is this huge gaping hole that is existing because of Stabler’s absence.Another major problem,is that whoever is in charge of the writing,still would not quit placing Benson in relationships that are not going down very well with the viewers,this believe it or not is mostly the MAJOR issue for falling ratings,the people want to see her with Stabler end of story!They knew he is the ÓNE’ for her.I was glad that the Mr Leight or whoever is in charge of the episode with Lewis,finally saw it fit to let us see that even though Benson is with Cassidy,which is a joke!I was happy to see Lewis taunting her about Stabler and making her acknowledge her true feelings for him!She Love,need and want Elliot Stabler to this day,I was truly elated to see that this is the case.I hope he get to return however short the time is,I would be quite satisfy if his appearance is just for the love of his life Olivia Benson,only time will tell.Another great asset to the show who is also leaving is detective John Munch he will also be truly missed,like Benson and Stabler,Munch and Fin were a great team,and again for me that is upsetting the apple cart once again!I understand that Munch is much older now and that maybe is the reason for his exit,but I will still miss the dynamics between him,Fin and the team especially his conspiracy theories!I understand though that he will make appearances on svu on occasion.Benson/Stabler Forever…

  34. Leann says:

    I have every episode of Svu and I will miss the connection between Stabler and Olivi but the show is still my favorite show without Stabler if Benson goes might be a different story but there will always be something else to take my interest same as when Blue Heelers, Ziva left NCIS things changes

  35. jessica says:

    I will never watch the show if jennifer love hewitt replaces olivia. elliot was enough. Olivia is wat is left

  36. Joyce says:

    Please, please, please find a way to bring Chris Meloni back. Jennifer Love Hewitt is not a good replacement for Olivia.

  37. Rebecca says: