Friday, February 5, 2010

Chris Meloni Announces Intention to Leave Law & Order SVU? Maybe Not

An Australian news outlet, the Courier Mail, reports that Chris Meloni will leave Law & Order SVU “within the year… confirming he would walk away from the role of Detective Elliot Stabler after season 12 of Law & Order SVU.” The article also goes on to state that “The decision already has led to tears, with castmate Mariska Hargitay breaking down when discussing how she and her character Detective Olivia Benson would cope with losing Meloni.” The article also said that Chris “was interested in pursuing theatre work as well as producing and or acting in "guerrilla-style sleeper" films when he leaves.”

This should be no real shock, since Meloni renewed his contract only through season 12. Still, the news will likely be upsetting to many fans.

You can read the full article and all of Chris’ comments at the following link:

Chris Meloni of Law & Order SVU hands in his badge Note: is no longer active, see note and new updated link below.

Update Feb. 6, 2010 - SVU Executive Producer Neal Baer, via Twitter, has been denying Meloni is leaving, going so far as to say in one Tweet "don't believe everything you read in the papers!" Access Hollywood has noted that the Courier Mail article is no longer available on line.

So – did the Courier Mail lie? No retraction was printed that I can find. Did Meloni open his mouth when he should have kept it shut? All I know is that fans seem to be caught in the middle here. I sure would like to see an official retraction from the Courier Mail if the story wasn’t true.

February 7, 2010 Yet another update: the story is BACK UP on the Courier Mail, here’s the new link: Chris Meloni to leave Law and Order SVU after season 12 So...who are we supposed to believe? Can anyone provide a confirmation or denial from Meloni himself?

Update April 7, 2010: Meloni finally clarifies and says he is not leaving, read article in US Magazine, here: Chris Meloni: I'm Not Leaving SVU

Here's what he said, excerpts:

The TV star has finally spoken out about an early February report that claimed he intended to leave the NBC show after shooting season 12.

"It's lies. All lies. No," Meloni told Tuesday at the Benefit Gala for Figure Skating in Harlem at NYC's Wollman Rink.

The actor, 49, has played Detective Eliot Stabler in the NBC spinoff alongside Mariska Hargitay since it premiered in 1999. Australian newspaper Courier-Mail had quoted him as saying, "I think 12 years is enough, a good number...It will be a difficult transition."

But Meloni explained to Us: "What I said was 'When your contract is done...that will be the end. Because when your contract is done, it's usually the end," he said. "But when [producers] come back to me, you know, we can always talk.' I couched it incorrectly. It wasn't [the reporter's] fault."

To set the record straight, the star clarified: "I had one year [left] on my contract. Our show hasn't been picked up. Those are the facts of the matter."

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Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.


Amanda said...

At the moment he leaves the show, it's over.

Melanie Atkins said...


TP said...

I am sooo sad about this even though I understand his reason for leaving. Unfortunately with him leaving I will no longer watch the show and I am sure I am not alone. The ratings will go down which might mean cancellation..that is just my opinion. I really don't think Mariska can carry the show on her own even with Belzer & Ice-T. This is sad sad news :(

Anonymous said...

I may be in the minority but I think this is actually a GOOD things. Stabler reached a plateau long ago and the writers never seemed to be able to get him out of his hot head persona.

There are a lot - A LOT - of hot actors that would jump at the chance to take Meloni's place, and maybe actually get something going with Benson. It may be a good thing for Hargitay too to put her in a situation where she has to work with a new partner. It may help her get an emmy.

So I take an approach that if they cast this right, this could be a real improvement for the show. I have always liked Meloni but no necessarily Stabler!

Anonymous said...

Actually, I like that he is leaving. Stabler has turned into a dickheaded macho without any redeeming factors in the last seasons. And since Meloni has good plans, I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

Meloni is the reason I watch SVU, but I can't say I'm too sad he's leaving. I'm not much of a Benson fan, and watching the show these past few years has felt almost like a chore, so now I can just be done with it.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised. I know Meloni fans are going insane right now, and I understand about how losing a favorite actor on a show can feel like a punch in the gut. While some people think Neal Baer does such a great job as EP of SVU, think again - he let Stabler stay for years as a hotheaded jackass prick. I am happy for Meloni and even a little excited that we may get a hot hot guy to replace many to chose from!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Meloni fan and I'm really excited, not annoyed at all. I'm glad he gets the chance to have some fun and get some parts he can really sink his teeth into. I think they have been really destroying the Stabler character in recent years and I want to see him do some theatre or comedy. I wouldn't dream of watching SVu without him but I hope they finish the character properly and definitely not the way they ended Casey Novak.

Animelee said...

Hopefully they don't kill him off like Sgt. Greevey or Cpt. Ross! Hopefully it's an exit like Det. Logan, where he just retired.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably in the minority but this is good news for me. I never liked Chris Meloni and Stabler is annoying. The writers have nothing to do with his character. He's either screaming at somebody or beating them up. They focused so much on Stabler and his family that the show stopped being about sex crimes and became the Stabler intense family hour.

This is good for the show, too. They should have done a shake up a few years ago but better late than never. If they bring in a new actor it might get interesting again.

Anonymous said...

I love SVU, I like Cris Meloni and I think his departure will, in principle, reduce the audience seriado.Mas nobody in the world is irreplaceable. For me, the great name of SVU's Mariska Hargitay. Do not deny that I follow so SVU to see his performance (and beauty). Perhaps with a new detective, less problematic, SVU new lease of life.

Anonymous said...

I think it will hurt the show, since he was on the show for over a decade. And whether one likes it or not, there are obsessed Benson/Stabler shippers, and also, the crazy Stabler fangirls.

And while I think he made Stabler work as a character, I feel like he wasn't near as amazing on SVU as he was on Oz (much like Kathryn Erbe). It's understandable if he's become bored of the show. The casefiles have been 10 different kinds of outrageously terrible lately. Like as if Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock was writing them.

TJara said...

I'm not surprised, IMHO, he's just being smart. With what they did to LOCI, there's NO way they'd renew his contract anyway. They can probably keep one of them, either Meloni or Hargitay, and he knows he'd be the first one out.

Still I'm sad he's leaving. But maybe they should consider bringing the show full circle and ending it before the whole cast gets changed and they change the concept of the show but still call it SVU...

What, me, a sour CI fan? HELL YEAH!

Anonymous said...

This is so sad I love the Benson/Stabler duo but I knew pretty soon one of them was going to leave but I thought it would have been Hargitay not Meloni but even though I knew it was going to happen hearing it being mentioned is like Wow you can't believe it. I just hope they give him a good departure and that every loose end that was never cleared up between Benson and Stabler is cleared up and that they might do a shipper for us just at least one kiss on the cheek or better the lips or maybe more......whatever floats their boat.

Ol Cranky said...

I actually think one of the biggest problems with SVU is that it almost became soap opera-ish when it came to Stable and Benson and just jumped a bunch of teeny sharks to be able to have shows that focused on them and their issues as opposed to being a procedural. Maybe the shows will become more interesting if they go back to treating it like an ensemble instead of a showcase for Meloni and Hargitay

Anonymous said...

It's LOCI all over again, watch Mariska Hargitay will probably leave too. Watch. I'm done with SVU now... so sad. Done with CI AND SVU.

Law & Order here I come.

havers said...

Chrisopher is smart enough to leave the sinking NBCU ship before they can hurt him.

I'm sorry to see him going but I know he'll do interesting new projects and I wish him all the best.

Anonymous said...

I agree with olcranky - the series was becomeing too much of a soap opera.

Sure, the show was hurt by moving to the 9PM time slot on a different day because of the NBC Leno fiasco, but they also could have lost viewers because the stories sucked.

They should have done what L&O did a long time ago and changed some of the key players, instead of making this the Benson and Stabler hour. All this did was make the show appeal to teens and obsessive fangurls and it failed to be about the cases and the stories overall.

I wish the best for Chris, he seems like a nice guy and is a good actor. But there are a lot of actors out there who could fill his shoes easily. Just get one really good looking guy who can act and you have it made. They are a dime a dozen.

Meloni may find that he's been with SVU so long that he has been typecast and may have problems getting other work that requires, you know, actual acting range.

Hargitay may have the same problem if she leaves. I can't imagine her being a serious contender for movie or stage roles. I enjoy her on SVU but her acting range is also limited.

windy city girl said...

I'm ok with Meloni leaving. He's had a great run as Stabler and I wish him the best.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

The new link now says, right at the beginning, "ONE of TV's best-loved crime fighting couples will part ways within the year with Chris Meloni confirming he would walk away from the role of Detective Elliot Stabler after season 12 of Law & Order SVU." So it seems he confirmed it with THEM, but with nobody else? What is going on? I don't think I believe Neal Baer, I think he doesn't want fans to go all nutty.

It would be great if Meloni released a statement to the entire press - besides this Australian news web site - so we can end this once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Spy at SVUfans was in contact with the reporter in question who said that they interviewed Chris and then Mariska on set and that an NBC rep was present. Chris is not in the habit of repsonding to rumours but I would believe him before I would believbe Neal Baer- look at what they said about Diane Neal leaving which was lies.
BTW Chris has done lots of varied work including that during SVU so there is no reason for him to be typecast. He has never shown illusions of big Hollywood Blockbusters but has said that he wants to do work he finds interesting, challenging and/or fun.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to believe NEAL.

Why would Neal lie or say nay. I remember when Chris/Mariska were 'leaving' after seasons 9 and 10.

And Neal said, nobody from the cast was leaving but Diane Neal/Adam Beach in season 9 and in season 10 Michela McMannus. No one else.

I don't trust the Courier... when Meloni comes out with a statement, I'll believe it, but until then... No Meloni's not leaving.

Anonymous said...

No reputable news outlet would put out a story like this if it were not true. There is no reason to believe the Courier Mail is not reptutable. I think Chris said exactly what was in the article, he has to get the word out he will be available for other work, I think Neal Baer is the liar here.

Anonymous said...

I wanna believe Courier but I also wanna believe other sources would have come out with this news FIRST! Like THR, or Mike Ausiello or some of them, Courier was the first.

I'm on 50/50 here.

Anonymous said...

The Courier Mail would have nothing to gain by lying. Bar, howeven, would want to protect his show and keep up interest. I am not saying he's lying per se, he may just not have all the facts.

Anonymous said...

I think Dick Wolf or Chris Meloni need to make an official statement now, on the real.

A lot of people are posting now that the rumors aren't true. Why would N. Baer lie now, because rumors have it he's trying to be LOCI's showrunner in the upcoming future.

IDK, wish Chris would stay, but I also wish him the best... however it all goes.

Anonymous said...

To the last anonymous poster, the Neal Baer thing about wanting LOCI is RUMOR. Just rumor and maybe some wishful thinking on the part of fans. Baer is going to do all he can to promote his show, and may not be telling the whole truth.

The Courier Mail had an NBC rep present at that interview with Meloni and he said what his said. Nael Baer seems to have clammed up on the issue now, so what does that tell you? There is no offical press release from him on the issue, just vague tweets. I think he didn't lie intentionally, I think he didn;t know the full circumstances surrounding the Meloni interview.

Anonymous said...

omg chris im sad ur leaving but this gives mariska a better chance of being lead character now like she should have been in the first place i am a big E/O fan and before chris leaves i hope for something to happen bettween elliot and olivia i think after chris leaves i will watch the show still but if its not any good then you ve lost me and many other people if i do like it especially since mariska will still be on it when mariska does leave you should either cancel the show or change the name because i and many others wont watch it after mariska has left as well because she is the best xxxxxx E/O fan and a MARSIKA fan

TP said...

I personally think an official annoucement will be made when we get closer to Season 12 or perhaps even the end of it. I am thinking Chris made this decision and Neal Baer either didn't know (which I don't think is true because I am sure Chris mentioned something to him) or he is living in LA LA land and doesn't want to believe it or thinks Chris will change his mind. Baer is not talking much about this so either he doesn't want to OR can't. I am sure Chris will be leaving after Season 12 which sucks because we won't see him on a weekly basis BUT its understandable. He wants to leave and try new things and if he stays for another 12 seasons it will be too late. I am sure it wasn't an easy decision to make. As for me...he is my fav on the show and I know that once he leaves I will probably not watch anymore. I might try giving it a chance but I know it won't grab my attention. I have read several posts online where people are saying they will stop watching once he leaves so that might not be good for the show....I am sure Baer knows that once he loses one of his main charactors or both the show will go downhill and he is probably a little worried about that.

Anyway, its a mixed bag out there on the net...some are bashing Chris and some are praising him....I think he, NBC and the SVU Producers need to send out an official annoucement. Apparantly Chris does not have a publicist.

I am sure something more official will come out...when...don't know.

Anonymous said...

Is the comment 2 above mine supposed to be a joke? I really hope so.

Joseph said...

I say make Munch/Fin take over!

And to Neal Baer to LOCI... good luck Neal I hope you get the job!

Chris leaving SVU, damned if you do damned if you don't... or the fans will be anyway. Good luck which ever choice you make Chris.

Will I watch after Benson/Stabler leave? Maybe.

Will I watch LOCI after Goren/Eames leave? Hell no.

Anonymous said...

I like Meloni, but anyone thinking the show will die is insane. It's actually a good thing -- better now then making the show, which like the mothership, could last for 50 years if it wanted, too prisoner to its characters.

the show will go on, as most L&O's always do (TBJ would have, if they hadnt pulled the plug too early)

All Things Law and Order said...

In case you are following this thread of comments, I updated this original blog post a few days ago to note that Chris clarified he is NOT leaving the show and he took the blame for the confusion (not blaming the reporter for the original story). The link to the news source reporting this update has also been added to my original post, just to keep the whole story in one place so everyone can follow the chain of events.