NBC on Chris Meloni's Law & Order: SVU Exit: We're Not Killing Him Off

It appears NBC is keeping the door slightly ajar for Chris Meloni to someday return to Law & Order: SVU.

At the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on Monday, Peacock boss Robert Greenblatt told TVLine that Meloni’s alter ego, Det. Stabler, would not be killed off when the show returns this fall.

So how will the actor’s departure be addressed on screen? “I think you should just watch and see,” he hedged, before adding, “It’s not a big shocking mystery.”

Greenblatt also addressed questions concerning Meloni’s leading lady Mariska Hargitay, whose Benson character is rumored to be taking on more of a supervisory role this season. “That remains to be seen,” he said. “That’s something we talked about, and I don’t know if that’s actually where it’s going to go in the latter half of the season yet. But that could happen.”

Regardless, Hargitay will in fact appear in every episode of SVU‘s 13th season, which will introduce new detectives played by Danny Pino (Cold Case) and Kelli Giddish (The Good Wife). “There maybe a day every couple of weeks that she’s not working,” he added, “but I don’t think you’ll notice [on screen].”

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  1. xav says:

    Thank goodness. I hate when they kill off characters, totally blows any chances of the actor coming back for an episode or two.

    • Mr incredible says:

      I’m glad they are not killing him off either. That usually happens if the actor burned all the bridges with management which I dont think was the case as it was just money demands…

      • Bob Maxwell Retired NY Times Pressroom foreman says:

        To whom it may concern,
        For many years we have enjoyed Law and Order SVU,but we cannot reconcile the removal of Chris Meloni from the excellent cast. Please consider the millions of viewers who will miss Meloni and his family. Sincerely, Bob and Virginia Maxwell.

        • EAB says:

          I agree, Stabler is going to be missed. However, I hope to see Chris Meloni on the big screen or begin a new series.

          • Kalli Bost says:

            I agree with all of you but I don’t think that he should have been taken off the show. In my opinion I think that Christopher meloni was kinda the star of the show with his partner Olivia. He also did take the spot light away from munch and fin. I also think that munch and fin were a great pair. He will be greatly missed I hope he comes back but shares the spot light with his other coworkers. :(

        • Jae says:

          I fully agree that Elliot is going to be missed…a great actor, with a great physique

        • I agree!!! A little more closure would have been good too…..I keep waiting for him to come back even for an episode or two so we don’t feel robbed…….one minute he’s there, the next he’s not. No good bye, no explanation to Mariska from HIM……we need to be a part of this departure! What’s up writers????

        • Suzyq says:

          I think that without Chris Melonie and soon to be Mariska, they should have stopped the whole svu!! There is no replacing them and it’s a big slap in the face to continue with a new cast. It’s un-sacred!! In my opinion, NBC is digging a grave.They should have paid whatever Chris asked for!!

  2. Jerry says:

    I assume that more than likely he will be on leave, forced or not, due to the events of this past finale. Not that far of a stretch, really.

    • brandi says:

      I agree with you Jerry, I think what he had to do in the finale will have kind of traumatized him and he won’t want to continue his current job.

    • Georgia says:

      I was wondering how the issue would be dealt with when I was watching the final episode of Season 1!. I agree with both Jerry and Brandi. There would have to be some kind of an explanation for what happened, why not deal with what happened and leave it open-ended?

  3. TRish says:

    Well that was clear as mud. Does this man work for the US Government?

  4. Meghan says:

    At least perhaps he can come back in a guest star capacity again maybe…

  5. te says:

    Wait — I thought leaving was his idea. Greenblatt is learning his shoddy CYA attempts from the producers of “Glee.”

  6. RedKirth says:

    I hope it isn’t leave. That’s a lame way to get rid of a character. Thats how Daniel Baldwin and Ned Beatty left Homicide. Were put on leave, and never returned until the tv movie.

    • DJ Rogue says:

      Actually, I forget which season it was, but i’m pretty sure that Baldwin’s character committed suicide during the show’s run. Maybe somewhere around season 4?

      • Eric says:

        Baldwin’s character, Beau Felton, was initially believed to be a suicide. In fact, he was murdered. They discovered that he had not left the force like originally thought. He was working undercover to find a police leak and was killed by the head of a car-chopping ring.

  7. Sandra says:

    That is a great idea. The finale this past season had me reeling. It would anyone who played on the finale.

  8. Sandra B. says:

    Someone please re-fresh my memory- What happened on the Finale?

    • Andrea says:

      Elliot shot a young girl, who was shooting suspects inside the precinct. That’s where the episode ended, so we don’t know if the girl died. I’m going to assume she did and the death of her will ruin Stabler!!!

      • Tony Carlin says:

        Can you please tell me what series and episode you are refering to above Andrea,I knew he would not be in series 13.However I have only really starting watching SVU for over a year now ,and there are sooooooooo many different series being show on different channels now it would be nice to know.

        Thank you in advance. :)

  9. Smart move to not kill off a character who has been at the heart of a show for over a decade, especially since the L&O series don’t allow for a lot of time to mourn (and it would be odd to be past his death in the span of two episodes). I would suspect that Stabler would just transfer to Queens, be there for his family, and stop working sex crimes. The character should have realized he was burnt out about a season and a half ago, so giving him the dignity of moving on to another detective bureau would be best (in my opinion).

  10. Nelda says:

    Good one, Timothy! That would make sense as Stabler has like what? 5 kids now.

  11. jane says:

    Since Elliot shot a young girl in the finale, I can only assume that it shocked him and that made him want to quit. He looked horrified during that last scene as she died. That obviously affected him like nothing else! I’m very happy to see that he won’t suddenly be dead…because THAT also would NOT make sense since he won’t be in the first episode of the new season or any other episode!

  12. JohnDoe says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see him return at some point like what’s his face from L&O: CI. He might just leave SVU for a while to try out something different, or be with his kids.

    Also, I’m expecting these new detectives to fail miserably, just like every other detective they’ve tried to bring onto SVU alongside the originals. They’ve all been unlikeable replacements or additions.

  13. Larc says:

    Maybe they will send Stabler off to some kind of institution that will try curing him of stupidity.

    • Jackie says:

      Really?!?! You’re an idiot!

      I can’t say any more to this because you make absolutely no sense. Have something to back that up- he SOLVES crimes and murders, yet he’s “stupid”???? Ooooookay!!! LOL

  14. rony says:

    Maybe he’ll take some time off. Maybe he’ll transfer to another unit.

  15. Erik says:

    Maybe they won’t even mention his absence. Having characters go through major changes or leave and the return with no explanation seemed to have made them happy enough on Law and Order: CI.

  16. Dano says:

    I don’t think there was any bad blood here. Meloni was on the show for 12 years and really deserved a pay raise. Think about the money this show makes in syndication, and the fact that he does twice the work as a Charlie Sheen while getting paid far less. In any case, 12 years is a good enough commitment. I think Meloni’s Oz co-star, Dean Winters (who has appeared on this show) would make for a more suitable replacement.

  17. Danielle H. says:

    That’s all fine and dandy that they aren’t going to kill him, but I highly doubt you’ll ever see him back in any capacity because they just won’t pay him for it! It’ll be weird though any way you slice it, because in real life even if he transferred or quit I’m sure Liv would still see him, and we just won’t get that on the show.

    There will never be enough resolution, so everyone needs to begin to come to terms with that.

    • HGFM says:

      Actually I would doubt Elliot would have contact with Olivia once he has left the squad. They are not friends. The basis of their relationship was work. Once that’s gone, it’s over.

      • Anon says:


        I think you’re the only spectator of SVU (did you watch it?) Think that Elliot and Olivia are not friends. Have you started your treatment against hatred and bitterness that you have against Mariska. This is bad for health, will end up killing you. His obsession is pathological by Mariska. It’s amazing.

        • Casey says:

          Right on Anonymous! So HGFM, too scared to reply to someone who actually had the guts to stand up to you? Wouldn’t be surprised considering you’re nothing but a lonely-ass coward who’s obviously jealous of Mariska’s talent, family, and humanity. You are clearly demented in some way given all your comments and views on SVU and Elliot and Olivia. If I were you, I’d get professional help immediately! Someone must have really screwed you up as a child and I sincerely hope you find your way back to sanity and common sense! Good luck with the rest of your (hopefully) miserable life — I’m sure somebody out there loves you (I find that incredibly hard to believe though!) and can help you get through this terrible phase in which your sense of mind is in need of serious fixing.

  18. Gosh
    Where have I been, I didn’t even know he was exiting – that sucks!
    Well seeing the finale, I going to guess that the girl dies and Elliot will face some time for it.
    As long as he can come back and grace our screens again, I will be satisfied with him exiting.

    • James S. says:

      Why would he face time for it? The girl was armed and had just shot and killed/injured a bunch of people in the station. Elliot ordered her to drop her weapon and she refused, so he shot her. He didn’t want to shoot her and its my bet he will be traumatized and not return to the squad.

  19. Claire says:

    I’m hoping that, dspite cutting back on her screen time–like perhaps to the same amount as Ice T’s or whatever–they still keep Hargitay’s Olivia on the case, solving crimes and interacting with victims, right alongside Giddish and Pino. It would be very satisfying to see two women in similar roles at the same time on the show. It’s never made sense that a sex crimes unit would only have a single famale detective for female victims to interact with, anyway. This will be much more realistic!

  20. L.L. says:

    Elliot’s at the beach. He’s gratuitously taking his shirt off for the neighbors’ viewing pleasure and he’s drinking beer in the afternoons. Liv will follow in a year. That’s my happy world and I’m sticking to it.

  21. Nicole says:

    I can only hope this ends up to be like Criminal Minds and the producers realize what a mistake they have made and bring Stabler back the following season…

  22. TH says:

    Go ahead kill him, bring Ice & Munch up thier characters are more interesting anyway.

  23. jane says:

    You must not watch the show! Elliot and Olivia are close friends…they have stated that and shown it through MANY episodes over the past 12 years…

    In the story line, obviously Elliot and Olivia will contact each other, but I highly doubt it will be shown unless Chris Meloni decides at some point to come back for a guest spot.

  24. Angela says:

    They should just work it out somehow that Olivia & Elliot are together so they can’t work int he same precinct/unit.

  25. Stephanie says:

    Ya know its a good thing they Aren’t killing him off but its a bad thing he even leaving in the first place, Benson and Stabler always had chemistry not her and “the new guy” this just might put a wreck on their show but then again idk cuz ppl may still watch it for the fact Chris might appear every now and again, but how have a season like last season and then boom, no more stabler, just like with CSI:NY i completely stopped watching that, with no Stella AND Mac chemistry its just not the same :'( i have watched SVU since i was about 6 or seven and finally got into it and freak if i missed an episode and play the episode over and over if its one where Benson and Stabler have chemistry and it shows, i just hope he stays :'(

    • beckieb says:

      i agree with stephanie. no benson and stabler-no svu. benson and stabler are the characters that make the show different from any other cop shows.

  26. Sassbo says:

    To the person who said Chris and Mariska aren’t friends off screen; that’s absurd – he’s stated publically they’re like Siamese Twins and she is the Godmother to Chris’s daughter. They are uber close friends. I suspect this Greenblatt guy has seen the reaction of SVU fans to Meloni leaving and is having second thoughts about a way to get out of jail if the two newbies don’t cut it….and I doubt they will. Pino’s show lasted a couple years and the woman has headed up two shows that went down in flames almost before the closing credits. I watched Pino in “Cold Case” a day or so ago and he is, without a doubt, the biggest wimp that ever was on a cop show. He is very young, slight stature and not given to showing his temper. Nothing like our big tough Stabler with his muscles and his don’t mess with me attitude. I love him to death and I hope he comes back.

    A word to NBC and Mr. Greenblatt: You screwed the pooch. You don’t have many good shows on your network and it’s just plain dumb to jerk around with the best you’ve got.

  27. Cheyboo says:

    I believe they are leaving the door open in case things go downhill and to allow him possible return or guest appearances. just like when Mariska was on maternity leave they had Olivia transfer out because she needed time away and she was out of svu for around 2 months from the way the characters talked. Elliot had to deal with new partners so now we see Olivia dealing with a similar situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Olivia talks about Elliot often in season 13 since they were very close friends. I think that he may decide to come back because of how well they worked together. Kathy Stabler does refer to Olivia as Elliot’s “office wife”. I think that if the show seems to be going downhill they leave the doors open to have Elliot return to svu just like Olivia did. they could do season 13 as 6 months to a year. That wouldn’t be an unreasonable amount of time to be gone considered what happened in season 12’s finale. I think they should have something happen to Olivia for season 13’s finale and Elliot has to come back to save her in season 14, now that would be an awesome comeback!

  28. Carl says:

    I think they are making a big mistake they did not come up with a compromise. Myself I think don’t fix it if its not broken I have to admit I tune every week because of the two of them. NBC should look how fast the other law and orders when down hill. Don’t think I will be such a die hard fan anymore with one of my favorites gone the show will be missing a little something for me.

  29. vanesa says:

    realmente no creo que estos actores puedan reemplazar a chris y mariska, svu era ellos dos, voy a seguir viendo por mariska pero cuando ya no este no volver a ver.espero que la nbc traiga a chris aunqe sea para algunos episodios, aunque lo ideal seria temporada 14 elliot y olivia

  30. Good post, thanks for sharing, I have enjoyed it very much!

  31. Jackie says:

    I agree with the majority here. I believe they’ll either have him on leave (going to mandatory therapy possibly), OR have him “undercover”.. I’m happy to hear that they’re leaving the door open for his possible return, which I hope happens; sooner rather than later. I was (and still am) very upset after learning that he had left the show. Typically we the viewers would have the chance to say “goodbye” in one last episode, and we were robbed of that here :(
    I don’t think it will be the same, no matter how hard they try. I’m trying to keep an open mind about watching it with no “Elliot” and with new people coming in- I am a fan of Danny Fino from Cold Case, as much as I like him, I just can’t see him filling Elliot’s shoes.

    I mean, we all know that a show can’t go on forever; as much as we might want it to…but I always thought the main cast would all be in it together until the very end. I was also upset to hear that B.D. Wong, ‘Dr. George Huang’ has also left the show…having taken a role on another show, he’s not going to be in any of Season 13’s episodes. It’s such a shame, the cast is really falling apart.

    Looks like I need to keep an eye out for something else with potential, in case this doesn’t pan out. I’ve been a loyal fan since the beginning and will feel slightly lost when it’s gone! :(

  32. quina says:

    what i dont get is how did elliot leave w out even saying goodbye to olivia he would never do that
    urg this season is going to suck
    The good thing is that theyr always be in eachothers lives bc theyr eachothers kids godparents

  33. vanesa says:

    esta temporada me es aburrida, los nuevos detectives no tienen vida mucho menos quimica entre ellos, extraño a chris y mariska juntos, porfavor que vuelva chris

  34. judy says:

    Olivia and Elliot will be greatly missed.SVU will suffer without both of their characters.Great acting is hard.I hope that the producers will realize the second mistake they have made in one years time.First Goren and Eames then Olivia and Elliot—isn’t there enough bad news in the world today?

  35. saprina says:

    Come on NBC pay Chris to come back. SVU needs him. I just watched a episode with Elliot and Olivia talking about their friendship. Come on NBC do something!!!

  36. Michelle M says:

    So sad, so sad. No one could take stablers place. Stabler and Benson are the best detectives on the show replacing them will effect the show negatively. Munch and tutuolla are Ok as partners, when they work in contrast with stabler and benson. It will never be the same. My favorite show has been ruined. Can’t NBC just give him what he is asking for. if they don’t they’ll regret it.!!!!!!

  37. Kalli Bost says:

    I loved Chris he will be missed

  38. Giovis says:

    Bring back Meloni !!!!!! he was the best actor with Benson. its not the same without him. i honeslty will stop watching the show once stabler leaves since i have watched it since the beginning on Netflix.

  39. Jessie says:

    I think the show not got make if stays gone he’s to much of a main character to just take out of the story an there’s nobody to fill his shoes So they should bring him back

  40. Car says:

    I still watch the show but it sucks without Christopher Meloni playing Stabler , bring Stsbler back or it will be the end of this era !!!!

  41. Ozzy Bracken says:

    So far I’ve watched every episode of season 13. However, unless Stabler makes a return in season 14, I’ll no longer be watching. Without stabler and olivia’s chemistry there is no SVU!