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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.

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270 Comments
  1. Bev Weatherly says:

    I want Chris back. He and his partner had the best chemistry I have ever seen on a show. Go ahead and pay him more. The show is not the same without the team. Make the viewers happy!!!!

    • Kimberly Allred says:

      I agree pay Chris Meloni what he wants. He deserves it. He and Mariska made that show what it is and even as awesome as Mariska is I am suprised SVU survived this long without Chris Meloni. Bring him BaCK please.

  2. robin says:

    Gorgeous man, great actor. He and mariska were so good together! I don’t think svu has the same quality without him, and I would very much like to see him return. I don’t think continuing the show without him makes sense…. Get him back nbc!

  3. Claire E. Wise says:

    One of the few shows I watch; bring Meloni back. He did a great job as partner to Hargitay. Don’t ask for so much money; the rest of us live on a lot less and our only entertainment is two or three shows on the cable we pay so much for. Claire

  4. Topper says:

    These comments prove that there are a lot of nutters out there. Firstly, let the guy do what he wants, not what you want. Who the heck do you think you are, to be imposing your wants onto someone you don’t even know – no matter how much you imagine you do. I don’t think he’s going to be planning his career by accommodating the wishful longings of someone who feels put out because there’s a new male lead in a show he’s left. Get a grip. Secondly, it’s not greedy to ask for renumeration for a job well done. I get paid for my job and expect a raise every now and then if I continue to do my job well. Why shouldn’t he? Why shouldn’t you? Why shouldn’t anybody? Thirdly, who are the mad ones out there who think that Chris could have organised a farewell episode to suit the fans? Do you seriously think that the execs would hand over the show to him to sort out his departure from the series? Do you have any idea about how a tv show is put together? The actors are the last to be consulted about anything. They are only required to turn up with their lines learned. He couldn’t have done a single thing about how his departure was handled – he’s not the writer or producer. I would have liked to have seen it finished off properly, too but it wasn’t up to Chris – or us, for that matter. What I do hope is that, unlike Bonanza after Adam Cartwright left, Stabler is talked about now and again during the episodes. That would be much more natural. Characters who have left in other series, such as Supernatural, NCIS and Smallville, etc., are spoken about in subsequent episodes, lending it a much more realistic air. Lastly, there wasn’t any romance between the characters. They obviously thought the world of each other and were the deepest of friends but that doesn’t necessarily lead to an involvement. That’s just something a certain section of the fans wanted. It crops up in every series, with any of the leading actors – male or female, or any mix of leads/regulars. Just access the fan fiction base to read all about it. Myself, I’m enjoying the latest series as much as I enjoyed the previous series and shall miss it when it’s gone.

  5. Anna Pace says:

    Law and Order is still my favorite TV show, but it definitely is not as good without Chris Meloni’s character, Elloit Stabler. He was the TRUE ANCHOR of the show!!!!

  6. travler says:

    GREED, GREED, GREED!!! He didn’t think the $ 400,000 per episode was enough??? Over 90 5 of Americans are trying to get by on less than $ 40,000 a year!!!! Don’t care if he comes back. Scotty is doing just fine in his place. Now if Benson leaves the show is TOAST!!

    • Brandi says:

      Your right about that

    • Annika Hermanrud says:

      Your SO right-the show will definitly be toast if Benson leaves the show…..

    • Kimberly Allred says:

      It had nothing to do with MONEy people. He wanted he’s work load cute back so he can also spend more time with his family as they did for Mariska and NBC were being Douche bags and was letting Mariska have that but not him and that’s not fare when he and her both were the lead stars of the show. Don’t get me wrong i love MH as much as I do CM but NBC wasn’t being fare. And that is Wrong on their part. He should have got the same deal she got and that’s the bottom line period. It had nothing to do with Money or the Rights it was All NBC CM wouldn’t have left if NBC would have been fare.

      • Kimberly Allred says:

        It had nothing to do with MONEy people. He wanted he’s work load cute back so he can also spend more time with his family as they did for Mariska and NBC were being Douche bags and was letting Mariska have that but not him and that’s not fare when he and her both were the lead stars of the show. Don’t get me wrong i love MH as much as I do CM but NBC wasn’t being fare. And that is Wrong on their part. He should have got the same deal she got and that’s the bottom line period. The writers and them wanted to give him what he wanted it was NBC not being fare. CM would still be there had NBC not been being Douche Bags about it. So you Ned to get over it had to do with Money because it had NOTHING to do with money.

  7. amanda says:

    Chris Meloni , is an amazing actor,

    OZ was his best work ever, SVU is great but he never got to show his true acting ability like on OZ

    i hope its not true that he isnt paid as much as Benson, if not , Why?

    he is so good and i wish he was recognised for that and got an Emmy

    unfortunately OZ wasnt recognised for any awards, which is so unfair of so many of the actors

    i would love to see Chris back or a contiuation of OZ with the originals back in it

  8. Alice P says:

    I miss “Stabler” I don’t even like watching the show without him. He (and Benson) made SUV what it was. period. I can see by most posts here, that is the majority thought. As for greed, that is how we are wired in the USA. He is just doing what is normal in this country. I want him back!!!

  9. Karen says:

    I really do miss Chris and his character. I really do wish that they would bring him back, to me its just not the same without him. Im not sorry to say that the new detective the replaced him needs the boot. He is not a good actor and Mariska has to literally take on his and her role to make it seem real. I just hope that Chris comes back soon. Oh and for you guys who think Chris was greedy NO it was NBC that was greedy and letting Chris go was their worst mistake. The b*s*t*r*ds. COME BACK CHRIS PLEASE! WE NEED YOU AND THE SHOW NEEDS YOU. WE LOVE YOU CHRIS. The show is no where near tha same without you.

  10. Taylor says:

    He was on true blood?? OMG. THAT’S funny.

  11. Kim S says:

    I am a big fan of Chris. I really miss his character. I wish there could be a resolution and bring him back.

  12. Brandi says:

    Yeah the show is not the same without stabler
    Benson and stabler make a good team please put him back on the show

  13. Chelsea says:

    PLEASE COME BACK CHRIS , It’s not the same without you. We all miss you so much.

  14. Renee says:

    The show isn’t the same without Elliott..He and Olivia were great! I’ve been s fan for years!.
    SVU feels different the new guy doesn’t have Elliot’s swag.

  15. J. Segal says:

    I miss Chris in the Stabler part. It’s just not the same and I no longer want to watch what was my favorite program.

  16. Lianne says:

    All of you are forgetting a vital piece of storyline that validates El’s “cut-the-cord” separation from the unit…in the episode where Elliot’s radio partner and his son are on steroids, and the baseball pitcher son beats up his best friend/girl, Elliot and the father mention they haven’t talked in over six years. One can reason Elliott has a military-style goodbye to him. If Meloni, et. al, don’t want more than that, then we should enjoy what our imaginations create for Olivia & Elliot! And hey, show some respect for the mighty Mariska-she has opened the lines of communication in this country through her talent and charity, using her beauty and intelligence, but I’m willing to bet she would love it more if no one ever suffered to need a SVU to begin with.

  17. Annika Hermanrud says:

    PLEASE please please let Elliot come back!!!:) Its not the same without him……i got REALLY upset when he was gone…..

  18. Jennifer says:

    first of all I want to say I have a life and one full of many blessings! on the rare occasions I have been able to watch a show and be considered a fan, it is usually because there is a male character that I happen to find sexy!! Christopher Meloni, although I don’t personally know him, I had the pleasure of running into him by chance a few days ago, and OMG I can’t stop thinking about him!’ I havent let the loss of his presence totally sink in yet, because i am watching him on Netflix reruns. I joined the SVU fan status only about a year ago and have seen all of the episodes with Christopher in them. His character Ellliott Stabler is the kind of man that makes you wish you were his wife! He is definitely passionate in his portrayal of Elliott Stabler and he and Mariska Hargitay have better chemistry than I’ve had in some relationships! As to why he is not on the show now, I can’t speak to that, but I can say I hope he does come back in new episodes and brings the sexy back to the show! I love the other actors who play Finn and Munch as well as Benson and Stabler, but without Christopher on the show again, I only have time to watch reruns on Netflix to satisfy my fantasy crush on this man in this role. I do think I will make time to TiVo him on any shows he will be in though, and that’s purely selfish! and I wish Christopher all of the best! Since I wasn’t at the meeting that put an end to his character on SVU, I can only say I hope that all of the people involved are happy with this decision and if you’re not…PLEASE bring back Christopher and give him more scenes with his shirt off!!
    ~jennifer

  19. Sloane Ashton says:

    I was married to a major hollywood producer and pretty well know what goes on behind the scenes. You are egomaniac idiots at NBC for ruining SVU. MELONI was the only actor for the role. He was the main draw. Couldn’t wait to watch it every week. Won’t watch it anymore. Get over yourselves. Get rid of the stupod ass exec that made the decision! You ruined Leno and got that other jerk. Leno’s back and lost his momentum. What other stellar mistakes are coming up!

  20. Troy Kent says:

    This show is so well written, well crafted, and well acted that I still look forward to it even with Chris no longer in the cast. But that said, there is no question that it was far, far superior when he was there. I keep wondering if there will be an episode some day in which an investigation leads Olivia and Nick or Olivia and Fin to a private investigator who turns out to be a chastened Elliot Stabler, angry at himself for leaving the force and day dreaming about whether the powers that be would be willing to take him back without too much of a cut in pay or in rank. He’s really an incredible performer in his ability to reveal the nuances of his character and reconcile Stabler’ inconsistencies and extremes from his explosions of temper when dealing with real dirt bags to his willingness to buck the system when rigid adherence to law enforcement bureaucracy would lead to foolish consequences and infringe upon his sense of justice. Stabler might well be the most nuanced and intriguing character of the new millennium. They have added some talented new performers to the show, such as Kelly Giddish and Danny Pino, since Stabler left, but it’s kind of like trying to keep “Casablanca” going at the same level without Rick.

  21. patricia says:

    He was a sexy white man and IM not to into those kind lol but he is a good actor

  22. former svu fan says:

    The new guy just does not cut it, neither does Finn’s partner. I’m more content watching re-runs

  23. Travis Pinkney says:

    We want stabler back or we not watching the show no more.

  24. michele donahoe says:

    I too only watch the re-runs now. I live for the re-runs. Sometimes I’ll catch the new ones, but there was such chemistry between “El’ and Olivia”. Don’t wait for the “Last Season”, if he comes back now-who knows how long it could go. After all NBC really doesn’t really have all that many good shows. Course the rest of them stink too.

  25. La Flare says:

    Stabler please come back!!!! PLEAZE!!!! The show ain’t da same without u partna!!!!!!!!!

  26. Julia says:

    What happened why isn’t he in Law & Order?

  27. Elisabeth says:

    You might as well end the Law and Order: SVU series without Chris Meloni. I love Mariska Hargitay, but the show’s lost its appeal without Chris and Olivia. NBC executives should have paid him what he’s worth to preserve the show’s integrity instead of playing hardball with him to show him who’s boss. A lot of good THAT did!

    I try to watch current episodes but end up turning them off in the middle. I’m still enjoying reruns that feature Meloni.

  28. Mary Morton says:

    I do not watch the new season, it’s not the same without benson and stabler together, they are so good. All I watch are the older ones on USA. I really do not like the new actors. Please try to get meloni back because benson and stabler are the best.

  29. Wayne says:

    NBC sure has a way of turning a way the viewers, look how they did Las Vegas in the final 2 seasons. They got rid of half the cast because of money and then it just ended, stopped, leaving us hanging. NBC has had some quality shows over the years and they just pull them or mismanage them, LaO SVU will be no different and I don’t expect it to go on much longer, it has ran its course.

  30. Terry Peters says:

    It almost feels unfair to Mariska’s new partner, but I don’t watch it any more because the 2 of them were the show. Come back Chris. NOW!!

  31. mandyc says:

    What is nbc thinkin they remove stabler and replace him with a guy that u would not believe could catch a cold with no passion for the part and quiet frankly cant act. Now get real bring back elliot before this programme is a distant memory that people used to watch and enjoy. As ur fans are asking u after years of dedicated watching bring him back isnt keepin ur fans happy keeps you in business

  32. joest says:

    Elias koteas and christopher meloni are twins

  33. Silentevil says:

    If he comes back great if not oh well I love svu and will take it anyway I can get it

    • Hannah says:

      Same here, a crime show is a crime show. While Amaro and Liv don’t have the same chemistry as Liv had with El, it’s still good and I’d rather watch Law & Order: CI and for them to make new episodes but SVU is all we have left out of Law & Order (for right now, I hear Wolf is making a new one) so the people complaining about no Stabler should move on and watch the new ones because while they aren’t the same, they’re good.

  34. Shelly says:

    NBC MADE A HUGE MISTAKE LETTING STABLER GO!!! STABLER & BENSON MADE THE SHOW. LOVE THE OTHERS AS WELL BUT COME ON….U JUST RUINED A GREAT RUNNING SHOW!!! I WATCH MORE RE-RUNS THAN ANYTHING NOW!!! THANK U USA FOR THE MARATHONS!!! BRING BACK STABLER!!!!!

  35. david says:

    we in australia want stabler back as much as you do in the us,come on,get him back on the show,him and olivia,wow,should have gotten them together,didn’t like the way he left the show without telling olivia,not good.

  36. sandra says:

    I feel like we’ve been betrayed elliot and olivia made the whole show i can’t even watch the new svu they sure lost alot of fans taking elliot out of the picture

    • david burnett says:

      what you say is true,here in AUSTRALIA,we feel that they could have done it a lot better,to see benson been told the way she was,not good.hope he comes back soon.

  37. lori says:

    I miss El on SVU. I do not like the replacements that they have. The show lacks excitement. Liv and El were great together, along with Munch, Ice, and the captain. Please bring him back.

  38. Trish Daly says:

    I have absolutely NO DESIRE to watch the new LAW AND ORDER SVU episodes without Chris Meloni (Stabler)! I only watch the re-runs!!! Dick Wolf and the other NBC Executives are truly DIPSTICKS!!!!

  39. Mick Kamarga says:

    The new episodes of svu are crap in comparison to the old ones. Stabler and Liv were a perfect combination!

  40. KT says:

    The ratings are going to keep getting lower and lower. I heard they were wanting Ashton kutcher…… Thank god he has a role preventing him from being able to do Svu. The show would be terrible w him. Ugh can’t stand him!!! Stabler better return… Or by the 16th season, no one will be watching.

  41. Hannah says:

    I think Danny Pino is doing an awesome job as Nick Amaro, but I haven’t been watching the whole series straight through. Last year, I found Law & Order Criminal Intent and fell in love with Bobby and Alex’s chemistry. I was so mad when I found out that it wasn’t making new episodes, so I went insane and emailed USA network and then I found out Alex was coming to Law & Order SVU. I watched part of an episode of SVU before this and it was good. It was with Stabler. The first full one I’ve seen was Acceptable Loss and I had no idea who anyone was except for Olivia. I didn’t even know Elliot was gone. I am watching Law & order, CI and SVU on Netflix and I love Stabler and I want him to come back but I don’t think he will obtain a recurring role like he had way back when. I haven’t even got through the first season of SVU or the original yet, so I’m not the best person to ask. Nick’s story has gotten too complicated now for them to get rid of him and bring back Stabler. Maybe he might be a guest star but that’s it. If you’re avoiding SVU because Stabler isn’t on there, it’s your loss because while Danny is no Chris, he’s still a good actor.

  42. kurt major says:

    Olivia and Elliot were the best ever pair to hit the SVU team. Show is not the same without Elliot. Even Olivia doesen’t shine as she should without Elliot. Hopefully he comes back soon.

  43. I am going to get to the point!They need to bring Stabler back,if not as a detective,as Benson’s love interest.I don’t know why Mr Warren Leight is trying so hard to hook her up with all these other guys,when from the beginning Stabler was the one she wanted to be with!You cannot help who you fall in love with.As for Stabler’s marriage,that can easily be over.His marriage to Kathy was in trouble for years.They are now making Cassidy the new love interest,EWWWWWWWWWWW!I don’t think he should be the one,in my mind he cannot be trusted,His actions on the show during an important case was questionable,Nick out right call him on it!On one of season 14 episodes,he is again being accused of rape!GOD!Why would they want to even entertain placing Olivia with someone like that is beyond me!Even if it turn out to be not true,the fact remain,that they will always be questions behind the accusations.Olivia seem to be dating him,but from what I read about the relationship,she is still not totally into him,he said she has a lot of trust issues!DAH!YA THINK!The only person Benson ever trusted from the time the show begun and even now,is Stabler.He is the love of her life,and even though Mr Leight is trying to plant all these seeds in our heads about her being with Cassidy,Haden.and all the other men that came and went out of her life,we all know that there will ALWAYS and FOREVER will be one man she truly love,and that is DETECTIVE ELLIOT STABLER!Everybody else will REMAIN SECOND BEST!I Hope Mr Leight see the light soon,The show is certainly not the same with Stabler gone.The ratings has fallen tremendously.Benson/Stabler is a package deal,you take one away,and you remove the true essence of the show.Benson/Stabler FOREVERRRRRRR!

  44. Nabila says:

    I am currently getting Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in United Kingdom, I started to watch it because of Christopher Meloni who plays Elliott Stabler he acts like an real detective he is so gorgeous I was so sad to read that NBC has not renewed his contract they made the biggest mistake. When we get the new series where is not featured I wll not be watching it anymore. Why can’t NBC come to their senses and bring the best character to the show again. I will purely misssssssssssssssss my Elliott Stabler. I wish all the best to Chritopher Meloni whatever he is doing next. This real was meant only for him, no other actor who replaces can take his role.
    Nabila, UK

    • Nabila says:

      I forgot to mention we should petition to NBC to bring back Christopher Meloni to Law and Order special victims unit the more fans petition and the more they at NBC will think how much the fans miss Elliott Stabler.

  45. i have been watching SVU ever sense season 1 it is not the same without Stabler so you need to get him back so the fans can get back into the swing of things again

  46. Lily says:

    I’m a Law and Order junky. I’ve seen every episode until “Scotty” from Cold Case came in. He was bad then and he’s bad now. Too much personal baggage with him that no one cares about. When Lenny left, I freaked. When Bobby and Alex left I cried. When Chris left I was horrified. When you have something that good, give him his due. I absolutely hate these SVU shows. Love you Olivia. Really Dick…..what were you thinking?

  47. L.Purnell says:

    NBC MADE A BIG MISTAKE NOT KEEPING CHRIS!!! PERIOD, SIGNED, A LONGTIME DEVOUT FAN!

  48. B.Jewell says:

    Ditto on what Carol B said: I get my SVU fix weekly by watching USA all day every Tues., then Sundays they also play some SVU. In between there, I have 272 episodes on Netflix to sate my hunger for dark drama. I sooo miss Elliot. Mariska is just so beautiful to look at (no homo), and they played off each other well. Off to watch The Borgias then SVU.

  49. joanna florez says:

    I just finished reading all the comments about Christopher Melvin; wanting and missing a very GREAT actor and the heart and soul which made in my opinion the series SVU. Dont get me wrong, the other cast is good too and I enjoyed watching them but the main reason America loved to see it, IS TO WATCH BENSON & STABLER. One can not live on water alone, we need food to survive and to be a hit series in everyone ones eyes again….yep we need Christopher Meloni to come back. It is still a show for the people right? So give us what we want to enjoy watching our favorite show/ series…”BRING STABLER BACK” your viewers are pleading with you….thank you.

  50. joanna florez says:

    Sorry, on my posting made a type error and enter Christopher Melvin but ment Christopher Meloni….please except my apology for the error but wanted to clarify. Once again ask him to come back, he is a favorite on this program…please don’t keep him out…let the people vote to bring him back! Where there’s a will, yep there’s a way!

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