Law & Order: SVU Exclusive: Stabler's Exit to Be Dealt With Over 'Several Episodes'

Law & Order: SVU won’t be glossing over the disappearance of Chris Meloni’s Det. Stabler when the show returns this fall.

A week after NBC Robert Greenblatt ruled out the possibility of Stabler dying off screen, new showrunner Warren Leight tells TVLine exclusively that the character’s departure will be explained — and there will be fallout.

“The reasons for his absence,” says Leight, “and the effect it has on the squadroom — and Olivia (Mariska Hargitay)  — will be explored in the first several episodes.”

The show’s boss declined to elaborate, but it’s safe to say the events of last May’s finale — in which Stabler shot and killed a young girl — will figure into his exit.

Meloni’s 12-year SVU stint came to an end in May after the actor and NBC failed to come to terms on a new contract.

To help fill the void, SVU is introducing new detectives played by Danny Pino (Cold Case) and Kelli Giddish (The Good Wife).

Season 13 kicks off on Sept. 21 at 10/9c.

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  1. Blake says:

    SVU will not be the same without him.

    • @Blake says:

      Agreed. I’m glad that they’re giving his departure the attention it deserves on the show. Especially with Olivia. I mean, Benson and Stabler are like one of THE best cop team icons ever. I hope they do that legacy justice. Thanks for the news, Mike. :)

    • Sheena says:

      I am still upset about his departure.I hoping they change their minds and come to an agreement.

      • Lola says:

        I agree completely, this show truly will not be the same without him. I want him to come back!! I really don’t watch any of the other Law and Order shows, it was the teams on this, they had the best connection and the perfect emotions. Without Elliot, it’s like getting rid of one of the family. A hole in the heart is all that’s left. Like many of us, I think the show will go down quickly because without Elliot, the show is no longer complete no longer the desire to watch without everyone there.

    • Jodi says:

      Crap! I was hoping for Elliot and Olivia to connect… It won’t bebe the same without him… Time to find another show to watch!

    • Alisha says:


      • Jan says:

        I cannot believe this. How have I not heard this until I saw a preview yesterday?? I love Danny Pinto. BUT, come on Elliot leaving chris meloni, I can’t believe it. I know it’s been on forever, but we love our SUV just the way it is. another era gone. THANK GOODNESS FOR ALL THE RERUNS!!!

      • sandrapants says:

        hi, I saw you said you have every episode and I am confused by season one episode 19 – “contact”…help a gal out? What’s up with them highlighting the fact that Elliot has a cold and then the rape victim Sidra “curing it”? Thanks.

    • greg says:

      when you are used to seeing a person for a long period of time u come back, and see them again, just like going to your favorite resturant, you just be in confurable place.

    • Beverly says:

      Why evertime you get a good show going you turn around and mess it up. I followed Chris Mwloni since he was on th show “OZ”, he was an excellent actor then and he became an even better actor on “LAW AND ORDER SUV”. I think he’s very good looking and very sexy and he also has a very sexy chest, I loved it when he had a reason to take off his shirt. I think sometime in some scenes he acted a little bit arrigant, but I dealt with it and realized it was a part of his personality on the show. My hold saying is, bring “HIM” back I saw the first show without him on 9/21/11, and it was really strange.

    • michelle says:

      Im very upset Stabler was taken off the show he was my favorite character and noone can replace him! bring him back or loose vaulable viewers

    • Tj says:

      It is always about money…”after the actor and NBC failed to come to terms on a new contract”. Meloni and Hargitay are the show – that is who we want to see. Just like many fans have stated…they lost another fan! NBC doesn’t care for their about thier fans…they only care about money…We live in a GREEDY – Money hungry era….It’s time for NBC to loose everything…

    • SVU super fan says:

      SVU isn’t the same. I don’t like watching the episodes without him. Olivia is the only reason I would continue to watch. They could have found a better fit for Elliot besides Danny Pino, he just doesn’t measure up.

  2. Esaul says:

    I’m curious to see how this plays out.

  3. mel says:

    Still devastated cos he wont be in the show anymore. Ive lost all intrest in the show now. :(

  4. Mikaylah says:

    Even though the show is continuing, and even though it could still be good, it will never be what it was without Stabler. Which is really sad, but I can understand that 12 seasons is a long time for an actor. TV filming schedules can be brutal, so I’ve heard. I do like Kelli Giddish, so I will tune in to see how it is.

  5. That is somewhat reasonable, but without Stabler actually being around it will be a little odd to keep making references to him. And I don’t think it will be enough to satisfy the fans who wanted him back.

    • Mary says:

      Bring Elliot back!!!!!

      • elizabeth says:

        Yes…. BRING HIM BACK< This blows i just seen the news tonight im not happy… it tears me up there wont be no benson/stabler anymore.. i wanna cry….

        • Mary Davis says:

          I too think this was a bad move to get rid of stabler. Him and Benson were the best cop team on TV I loved low and order but I don’t know how I”ll feel. I will give it a chance but I dont know if I can be so loyal. Before I would’t miss it but now I don’t know.

  6. Stephanie says:

    It won’t be the same without the two of them. But, look how long regular Law and Order lasted and it went through detectives tons of times!

  7. miss scarlet says:

    the problem is that, unless he leaves voluntarily, it seems weird to me that his shooting that girl last season would mean he’d be leaving. he only shot her after SHE shot two people in the squadroom.

    • Travis says:

      Regardless of whether what he did was justified or not, shooting and killing a young girl can destroy even the strongest of men… anyone who can just brush it off as “well she had it coming” probably shouldnt be a cop anyway.

      • miss scarlet says:

        he might not brush it off, but I don’t think they’d kick him out, and we’ve seen him shoot people before and be “fine.” it’s not something they’d kick him out for, and he’s not the type to leave.

        • Travis says:

          killing an adult and killing a child can bring two vastly different emotional reactions.

          It’s very possible a police officer could never stand to raise a gun after shooting a child, if that officer can’t he can’t be on the street.

          This doesn’t mean Stabler will be forced out, he could easily be reassigned to a desk job off screen, or perhaps he walks away from the job, or perhaps he just needs an extended time off and gets reassigned once he’s ready to return to the job.

    • I Wonder says:

      I think, willing to bet that he can’t get over that, yeah she killed two people first, but maybe he just can’t forgive himself for shooting a kid. That girl was around his daughters age.

  8. DotDotDot says:

    I’m hoping they kill him off. That’s the only explanation for why Stabler would ever leave Benson.

    • Amanda says:

      It’s already been announced that he won’t be killed off. But I agree that it’s unrealistic he would ever leave Olivia under any other circumstances.

      • HGFM says:

        What nonsense. In case you missed it, Stabler had no problems moving onto a new partner when Benson was in Oregon. If Hargitay had left the show instead of Meloni, Stabler would have moved on to yet another new partner once again.

        • HGFM is a Stupid B*tch says:

          I could say the very same to you! Seriously, why do you feel the need to come on here and contradict everything anybody says? Hardly anybody agrees with you so why can’t you just leave the rest of us alone and get on with your hateful life!? And in cased YOU missed it, obviously Elliot DID have problems moving on. You claim you don’t hate SVU or it’s actors, but based on all your comments on this post and plenty others, clearly you do. You’re no loyal fan and I’d be incredibly happy to see you go.

          • HGFM says:

            It’s pretty clear from your post that you have a problem with people disagreeing with you. I don’t buy into the nonsense that Neil Baer was pushing to get younger viewers to which by trying to create the illusion that Stabler and Benson were more than partners. I am far from the only person either on or off the web who thinks it was a bad call on his part. Viewership is down since he started it.
            I have been watched SVU since it started and at least try the new version. I don’t Hargitay because I think she is terrible actress in a part that has just become a bad joke and a disgrace to real police everywhere. And I and others can only hope the new showrunner and his new writers can bring SVU back to the quality it had before Baer screwed it up.

  9. HGFM says:

    My prediction:
    Stabler is suspended with pay while IAB investigates an officer involved shooting which is standard procedure. Cragen comes under fire because of the lax security that allowed the gun to come into the building. Benson comes under fire for not noticing how upset the girl and that she had a gun. She also didn’t try to stop the girl once the shooting began. While the shooting is ruled justified, Psych Services won’t clear Stabler for duty until he deals with the emotional issues of shooting a girl who was the same age as his youngest daughter. ANd the brass at 1PP decides everyone who has been at SVU needs another round with a shrink to make sure they are fit for duty. Psych Services recommends Stabler not return to SVU. He either retires or transfers to a less stressful unit.

    • Danielle H. says:

      Good guess (you, like me, have obviously seen almost every episode and know how the show works pretty accurately). I’m very interested to see what they do with this and how Olivia reacts.

  10. Nicole says:

    I’m so sick of all this Meloni/Stabler melodrama. He’s gone. Get over it. Maybe we can finally get back the real SVU now.

    • wam says:

      Wow If you dont think Stabler and Liv are SVU then Its probably just another cop show to you. I’ve watched every episode, more then once, and I wont be watching anymore. Except for these few comments I dont know anybody who is not upset about El’s leaving and most wont be watching anymore.

      • Marie says:

        Yea and when SVU became the Elliot and Olivia hour was when the show went to crap. This was an ensemble show once upon a time. I’m excited for the new season because Elliot is gone. Elliot has become the worst cop in television history. It’s a TV show but jeez how many times can cops ignore their captains and almost get them fired before they get fired themselves? He needs to just retire and take his wife and the 2 kids that don’t hate him and run for the hills. Neal Baer completely assassinated Elliot and Olivia.

  11. JohnDoe says:

    I’m not expecting much in the way of new detectives. Need I remind everyone that SVU has attempted new backup detectives several times and failed miserably over the years.

  12. Travis says:

    I understand people being upset he is leaving.

    The best years of the mother-ship came in the middle of the series run when Briscoe and Green were partners.

    So while it seems like the world is ending with the long team duo separating, better days could still be ahead, they may not be, but we wont know til it begins to play out.

    • linderella says:

      While I agree Briscoe and Green were a great team, I think it was Logan and Briscoe that gave L&O its edge. As for Stabler being gone – he will definitely be missed but I really will enjoy the opportunity to see more of Munch, Fin and Cragan. Let’s hope they don’t get lost in the dust of featuring two new detectives.

    • Selbs says:

      Excuse me, folks, but Lenny and Chris Noth and Briscoe and Green were NOT SVU, but L&O, and while I agree that those two pairings were the best ever, different shows completely. Unfortunately, L&O went down hill when Sam Waterston took a back seat to Linus Roach and the show never recovered. SVU still has it’s core so let’s see what happens without Stabler. We can always watch reruns and HBO still runs Oz, so we will always have Meloni in one incarnation of another. Danny Pinto is ok (Cold Case), but he wouldn’t have been my first choice. Let’s all take a deep breath and wait for the premier this month.

  13. pat says:

    Sad to see Chris Meloni leave the show. It wont be the same without him.

  14. Harry says:

    Did I mention I won’t be watching anymore? NBC just lost a viewer and a DVD customer.

  15. Ethel says:

    Will miss Meloni for sure but am looking forward to seeing Linus Roache again, hopefully for more than one episode. The mothership had several different detectives over the years and survived but I don’t know if this will work as well on SVU due to the relationship that has developed with Benson/Stabler. It will be an interesting season and I am along for the ride!

  16. Keith says:

    He will end up in an experimental prison at the Oswald State Penitentiary on the M block and he have a large Jesus tattoo on his arm.

    Oh wait, wrong show

  17. terry waldman says:

    Danny Pino, not from criminal minds, but cold case.Not in the business, only a doctor,but can tell the difference

  18. Heather Richardson says:

    I loved Stabler and will miss him but the show will go on and hopefully Danny Pino will be able to fill the big shoes he leaves behind.I would have liked to see Vincent D’Onofrio aka Robert Goran take his place he seems more suited for the role.

    • Just Because says:

      I’ll miss Stabler, but will tune in to see how SVU explains his absence. I’m glad that after all this time he rates an explanation and fallout, as the L & O franchise has left me scratching my head asking “Where’d ____ go?” on several occasions. I have mixed feelings on Leight’s tenure as showrunner for CI, but I’m interested to see what he does with SVU.

      I’m still in denial about no longer seeing D’Onofrio as Goren in new L&O episodes on my TV, but I can’t agree on wishing he were taking Meloni/Stabler’s place. SVU doesn’t seem like a good fit for Goren. Also, as some mentioned in other comments about how unlikely Stabler would be to voluntarily leave Benson, I think that goes double for Goren. Bobby wouldn’t/couldn’t leave Eames.

  19. Isabella says:

    The show isn’t going to last much longer without Meloni.

  20. Ely says:

    Oh no, I’m feeling X-FILES (season 8-9) all over again! :(

  21. Selina says:

    it will never be the same and i am so deverstated but atleat its not both of them its just Eliot, if they both left i woulnt wach it anymore, esspecially if olivia left she inspires me! anyway its goin to be hard to think of it as law and order SVU – 12 seasons the same untill now :( i always dreamt to be on the show with both of them, (i meen admit it who hasent) even though it was highly unlikley that would ever happen but it didnt meen i couldnt dream. but now that eliot has left my dreams have become impossable….

  22. selina says:

    oh i almost forgot :'( :'(

  23. Sophie says:

    Nooooo :'( So devasted over this, it’s still hard to believe. How, how, can the two best detectives ever come to an end like this?!

  24. Rachel says:

    If Mariska leaves Im going to stop watching though. E/O Forever <3

  25. graves says:

    Ok so i get that he is leaving but i hate that everyone of my shows have people i like leaving its crazy why cnt things stay the same we dnt need changes to our shows

  26. nikki says:

    I will dearly miss Meloni/Stabler. Liv & El made SVU and without them it just won’t seem right. You’d think that after 12yrs dedication they could have come to an agreement with him. Mariska is not “leaving” per se, but she is taking a less leading role to have more time with her family, so this show is going to have a tough season I think. I love Munch & Fin so I hope they don’t go anywhere otherwise SVU really will go under. I hope they give Stabler a good exit & leave it open for him to come back if/when NBC could work something out with Chris. I am a devoted SVU fan and it will kill me to watch it without them but I’m going to just to see how this all plays out.

  27. jess says:

    Will not be the same without Stabler…I have watched all the SVU’s, but probably will NOT watch them anymore…without Stabler and Liv it will essentially be like every other cop show on TV. The 2 of them made the show.

  28. Allison Bright says:


  29. Disappointed says:

    I am a DEVOTED fan of SVU, but especially Benson and Stabler. This news is incredibly devastating! What a shame. I will be shocked if the series is AS successful.

  30. Sean says:

    There is no SVU without Benson AND STABLER. U cnt treat him like an SVU prosecutor

  31. Kristy says:

    I am very unhappy about this news. :( Elliot and Olivia together, made the show worth watching. I am sorry to say that I will not be watching this show anymore, even though Liv will still be there, it won’t be the same without Elliot. I just don’t want to believe it.

  32. Anna says:

    I don’t know if I will be able to watch… The person that attempts to replace him will have some big shoes to fill…It’s doubtful that they will be able to keep the audiance attention without him. I know that even when they were not in an episode I really miss them and it is just not the same! I think if it’s not broken than don’t fix it.

  33. Cathy says:

    If Stabler goes, that will be it for me. SVU is my all time favourite show. Stabler and Benson are the show. They are awesome together. There is a chemistry between them. The show will not be the same, no one can replace either one of them. This is devastating news. The show won’t be the same and I won’t likely be watching it anymore. If anything, they should be getting those two together.

  34. Yara says:

    This sucks my fav show is ruined I would have preferred Finn and Olivia to become partners but this Pino guy or whatever his name is and that blonde chick are lame. Why couldnt NBC pay Meloni what he was asking or instead of waisting money on all there new crappy shows that no one watches they should of rescued there only good show left.

  35. daphany says:

    This is not right……..I have been a fan since the beginning. This is really hurting me, I feel like I’m losing one of my family members. The show will not last without Stabler. If NBC doesn’t want to lose on their number 1 show…..review the contract terms with Chris…….PLEASSSSSSEEE!!!!

  36. Rae says:

    I am totally disappointed but they should consider Wentworth MIller( Prison break)

  37. bree says:

    Bring Stabler BACK!! or lose loyal watchers! We love Olivia and we love Stabler- there is no either or! With them together, there is no SVU

  38. bree says:

    ** edit** Bring Stabler BACK!! or lose loyal watchers! We love Olivia and we love Stabler- there is no either or! Without them together, there is no SVU

  39. Kay Star says:

    I will miss you, Stabler! The chemistry between him and Olivia is first rate. What a great show, and it will definitely be different without him. I hope they can come to an agreement. It’s only money, okay!!

  40. jake says:

    well the beginning of the end to yet another great show. How sad, shows never survive once main people are written out.

  41. Kat says:

    Oh my gosh, I cannot believe it… Without Maloni, the show will not be the same. The team, Stabler and Benson made the show what it was, one of my favorites! Please come back!

  42. Josie says:

    If the company is smart they’ll realize how much of an asset he was to the show and work out a deal to bring him back! SVU will not be the same without him; I gave the premiere a chance but there was definitely a presence missed.

  43. Elizabeth says:

    I saw the season premier last night and I think they will be losing me as a viewer. You can’t replace Stabler. Its not the same without him.

  44. Jodi says:

    They should have paid him the money. SVU will never be the same!! I am afraid the law and order era is coming to an end. It’s sad

  45. mw says:

    did not enjoy the first show after looking forward to it’s return this fall. In fact changed the channel half way through. I can say I will not be watching it this year with the exit of Stabler :0[

  46. buttercup says:

    i am very upset elliot is not on show anymore it will not be the same. Will give a try but looks like a ending for me. Come back elliot we need you.

  47. ac says:

    OMG…….are you kidding me… how could they let meloni leave the show. That’s like taking candy from a baby. You can’t break up Benson and Stabler.. One is nothing without the other…Something has to be done can we petition this…

  48. Lydia says:

    Me 2 this needs to be fixed….. I getting bored with the new actors. Bring back stabler!!!!!!

  49. Bobby Cannon says:

    I’m not watching SVU without stabler. :(

    • elizabeth says:

      im with ya there… i cant watch it if its not stabler/benson. i can careless less about the other new actors. BURF… I want stabler back dang it..

  50. netey says:

    that sucks