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Exclusive: Chris Meloni Concedes Law & Order: SVU Fans Got 'Rug Pulled Out From Under Them'

Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay Law & Order: SVUChris Meloni has been gone from Law & Order: SVU for more than a year now, but his abrupt departure remains a sore subject among fans — many of whom felt cheated out of a proper farewell between his character Stabler and longtime partner in crime Benson (Mariska Hargitay).

Well, Meloni feels their pain.

“The fans really got the rug pulled out from under them,” he tells TVLine in his most candid remarks yet about his May 2011 exit. “I am absolutely very empathetic about that; I get it.”

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And while Meloni confesses that he doesn’t personally share viewers’ need for closure, he would absolutely consider a comeback down the road. “No one has approached me or anything like that,” he says. “But I’m open to all possibilities. I love those people, I love the actors, it was a magnificent ride. I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”

Meloni left SVU at the end of the show’s 12th season after contract talks between the actor and NBC broke down. In the year since, he shot a top-secret role in the upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel, and just wrapped a five-episode stint as Vampire Authority boss Roman on True Blood. He next appears in the big-screen comedy They Came Together opposite Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler.