Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Law & Order SVU Fans: Don’t Bury The Show Before It’s Dead

Yesterday’s news that Chris Meloni won’t be returning to Law & Order SVU for a 13th season caused a massive disturbance in the force of SVU fandom. One would think it was a sign of the apocalypse.

Fans of the original recipe Law & Order learned long ago that cast changes can and will happen, and fans coped. In some cases for Law & Order, cast changes brought iconic characters like Jack McCoy and Lennie Briscoe  to life.  Keeping Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay paired as Detectives Stabler and Benson for such a long time has both helped AND hurt SVU. The upside was that both actors have a solid following and brought in a lot of viewers. The downside is that losing one of these actors can further erode viewership. But one can’t ignore the fact that SVU has experienced a significant drop in viewers over the years. This could mean that viewers are tiring of the show in some shape or form - the actors, the writing, the formula, etc.

Change is long overdue for Law & Order SVU. While I fully understand fans of Chris Meloni who now declare they will never watch another episode again, this change is a chance to bring new energy to the show. It has to be done right, and this is one of those times where casting is EVERYTHING. I can’t stress enough that the new cast member will have big shoes to fill, so hiring an actor that is a well respected big name with a established following is a must. It has to be someone that will draw in new viewers. It has to be someone that both fans and the media will say “Wow,  I can’t believe they got ____”   and mean it in a good way.  There can't be any also-rans for this role, period.  

It bothers me when people who profess to be fans of the show are willing to bury the show before the show is dead. Law & Order SVU may be an ailing patient right now, but it is possible that with a carefully executed “transplant” the show may have more life,  get new fans, and be stronger than ever. While I certainly respect the feelings of Chris Meloni fans, I also have respect for the fans of SVU and all the Law & Order brand shows who are willing to give this change a chance. So before anyone buries this patient, let’s first see if it can’t be cured and given a new lease on life. I’m not willing to declare it dead yet.  




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60 comments:

Esaul said...

I think it's in their best interest to first try and find someone who is familiar with the franchise, as I said...like Jeremy, Anthony, Benjamin, or Jesse. I know a few might be involved with projects, but it's still possible to talk to at least one of them. It's better than getting a big name to fill in Neloni's shoes.

Esaul said...

Oops. Meloni. My bad. ^_^'

Mary said...

What TPTB at SVU have clearly failed to understand is just how significant Chris is to the success of this show. He is the reason I first watched, and then continued to watch for 12 years. I have absolutely no interest in watching without him. The show started to go downhill IMO when it started to focus too much on Benson, guest stars and political/ridiculous stories. I suspect this was due to Neal Baer's desparation for awards, which of course he got, but to the detriment of the quality of SVU. The great ensemble cast was forgotten and the sharp writing given to Richard Belzer for example. The removal of Diane Neal sounded the death knell for the show and losing Chris has buried it as far as I'm concerned.
I think that negotiating so late that it continues after shooting has finished has proved to be a terrible idea. It left us with the awful line at the end of Zebras and now what looks to be absolutely no resolution or completeion of Stabler's story. That is an insult to both Chris and fans of the show.
Having said all that, I think that this move can be a very positive thing. I look forward to the wonderful work that I hope Chris can produce in the future. He is extremely talented and can do such varying work. I'm particularly looking forward to some comedy and the Legend of a Suicide film. Good luck to Chris in all his endeavours!

CLA said...

Mary

Do not give me that the demise (?) was because of SVU Olivia Benson. SVU has always been Elliot / Olivia Olivia Elliot and more. How many episodes in recent seasons have not been centralized in Elliot? How many times her family was not focused? I dare say that NBC did everything to give Chris an Emmy. Unfortunately he never received such recognition. I think he's a good actor, but nothing exceptional and I wish success for your future. I will keep watching SVU. And that comes an actor who is its height. When Olivia's out there I do not see anymore. She is the main reason for me to see SVU.
Excuse my English. I am Latin and this is my second language.

CLA said...

Mary

Do not give me that the demise (?) was because of SVU Olivia Benson. SVU has always been Elliot / Olivia Olivia Elliot and more. How many episodes in recent seasons have not been centralized in Elliot? How many times her family was not focused? I dare say that NBC did everything to give Chris an Emmy. Unfortunately he never received such recognition. I think he's a good actor, but nothing exceptional and I wish success for your future. I will keep watching SVU. And that comes an actor who is its height. When Olivia's out there I do not see anymore. She is the main reason for me to see SVU.
Excuse my English. I am Latin and this is my second language.

MC said...

Although I do think that a change does not necessarily spell the end for the show, I also think that it's a shame that a character who was pivotal to the show is just going to disappear without a build-up for that. And I think that part of the reason that this show has been so beloved is because of the incredible chemistry between Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. They have been on the show together for twelve long years and have weathered some awful writing and storylines because people still tune in to see these two actors who work so well together. I am definitely in mourning over the loss, and while I will try to tune in next year, this show will not be the same without Detective Stabler in it.

Madeleine said...

If chris meloni, as it seem, not return to svu I wont be watching. I watch only because of the Stabler/Benson thing, I dont know what it is but I just like watching both of them together.

No Stabler = NO svu
Less Benson = SVU Doomed!
Lets see if it survives its 13th season. I doubt it.
(this even if it had been reversed)

But, if chris want to move on I am 100% behind him. But, I will miss seeing him every week :(

SVU have gotten bad viewers and all that most likely because of what Mary wrote. I see it every episode, bad acting and writing. So fake everything.

Last 2 seasons has not been as good. But thanx to benson and stabler I return to watch!

Mary said...

CLA
I have no problem with Benson, the character is crucial to the show. The shift both in promotion by TPTB (mainly Neal Baer) and in storylines away from the ensemble and towards Benson and the guest stars is what started the downfall of the show IMO.
Chris is not going to win awards for two reasons, one, he refuses to play the Hollywood game and two, because the majority of material he has to play with in recent seasons has been very poor. He has never been concerned with receiving awards, I don't imagine that has changed. Having said that, I still think he continued to give his all to the character. You feel his acting is nothing special, I disagree. His acting on SVU, Oz and in the many other things he has done have moved and startled me.
Everyone, including fans of Chris Meloni, should be entitled to their opinion on SVU. We are also entitled to no longer watch when he is absent from the show. That is my immediate course of action.

Marcella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RIPSVU said...

Good to know the future success of SVU relies on the casting, because they have so easily filled the ADA spot...oh wait. They have failed dismally at replacing the ADA. How many have we been through in the last three seasons? God I don't even want to count. ADAs are an important part of the show but not as integral as the leads. I have no faith whatsoever that they can cast another lead who will bring viewers in. Wasn't that the thought behind casting Skeet in LOLA? That worked well too.

The only thing that could save the show at this point is a whole new staff of writers. Meloni and Hargitay have carried this show along depite the many times cracktastic writing. And I just don't see them bringing in a whole new staff of writers.

What makes this particularly painful is that TPTB had touted that basically Meloni was a done deal giving hope that he would stay. Not only did he not stay but there has been absolutely no closure on the show for his leaving. When a character/actor has come into your home once a week for twelve years you undoubtedly grow attached. This is not the other law & orders where the cast was more revolving. They effectively dug their own grave. And I think in a lot of ways the resurgence of CI w/the return of Erbe and D'Onofrio shows that the L&O audiences do care who is in the role.

alex-axle said...

What I find funny is all the people who gave me so much flack for saying I didn't want to watch SVU without BD who are now freaking out because Mariska is going to appear less and Meloni is done.
I think the show can survive without them, but they need to get some very good actors to replace them. Bring back Skoda and find a good actor and actress to replace Stabler and Benson. Also, give Munch and Fin more screentime!

SVUtizadhas said...

Who wrote that?

frutiger2966 said...

No one wants BD to leave either but he is role has been rather minor. He is good but he has not been the lead of the show for 12 years. This is a very crappy way to treat Chris Meloni after he has worked very hard for 12 years. No send off. No nothing, I am done watching SVU. The quality has been going down for a long time, half the cast missing and Chris was the last reason I tuned in. Now I am gone.

Esaul said...

Well in all fairness, despite what went down, it was ultimately Chris' decision to leave. NBC didn't show him the door. So why in all fairness should Chris get a "proper send off" for something he wanted to do?

letsallchant said...

ITA with you, casting is everything - they have to bring in someone good to soften the blow. Like someone REALLY AMAZING. But not even an great actor like Jeff Goldblum could have saved CI after last years cast shakeup - though it didn't help that the writing was awful too.

I still think casting J.Love is a mistake. She was great in her episode, but she's one of those actors that a lot of people seem to harbor an irrational dislike for. But Ghost Whisperer always did well, so there's that. Too bad my other 90s fave Sarah Michelle Gellar is busy. Buffy would've been an awesome replacement for Olivia.

ReviveLawandOrderLA said...

Okay if SVU fans love Chris Meloni... why get mad and take it out on the show, like pissed mothership fans did to LOLA.

Chris Meloni WANTED to leave, NBC didn't kick him. If you love Chris so much, show Chris (and Mariska and the rest of the SVU cast that we rarely see) some respect by not giving up on SVU after his departure.

I might not know a lot of things, but I do know that Chris wouldn't want SVU fans to turn on the show just because he is departing, the same goes for Ms. Hargitay.

Vincent D'Onofrio encouraged LOCI fans to stay with the show when Jeff Goldblum took over, and look the show is ending because the fans departed.

I don't watch SVU for the cast, I watch for the close-to-home dramatic stories; though that is something IMO that has been lacking in the last 3-4 seasons.

I watch SVU to see rape victims dealing with rape/murder, and to see SVU police detectives investigate the crimes, and the SVU assigned assistant district attorney's prosecuting the offenders.

SVU fans really need to calm down; it's not all black and white: SVU is overdue for changes, and it could be for the better.

Esaul said...

Exactly. I watch SVU, and the other L&Os for the cases and the stories they tell. You don't get that kind of storytelling with other shows out there, and none will ever be the same like this franchise. Once it's dead, there will be nothing left. SVU is about the story, just as the other shows in the franchise. People grew too attached to the characters, though that's not exactly our fault at the same time, because I doubt Wolf saw these two staying on board for as long as they have.

Keir said...

The post provided a voice for reason. But like others her, I watch the show because of the characters; they are, after all, the one thing that sets one L&O franchise separate from another. I fear Meloni's replacement will be someone designed to draw in viewers- as you say, make them declare “Wow, I can’t believe they got ____.” But I can't see that in a good way. It would mean a big-name star who will overshadow rather than provide nuance. For example, I'm a tremendous fan of Jeff Goldblum (Mr Frost is one of my favourite films he did). I just couldn't watch him in a L&O show- I kept thinking to myself "that's Jeff Goldblum!" If someone is brought in because of the name of the actor rather than specific qualities thought necessary for the show's chemistry, then it would confirm in my mind the reason for SVU's decline- the writing. I've posted a number of times here, and I think each time I come across as a Jeremiah bemoaning the forced, obvious and two-dimensional patterns the formula falls back on. But I still watch because the characters have been so well-developed that the rest can be somewhat overlooked. Of course, seeing Jeremy Irons was a shock to me, but it seemed to work well. But then, that was for two episodes; to have a trained Shakespearean actor reciting the lines as one would Lear when all around is L&O actors, the balance of the show becomes deranged.

nygma619 said...

I agree with this entire post all things, while I'm sad that Christopher Meloni will no longer be a part of the show. I'm not one of those people thats going to say the cake turned out awful before I see how it turns after coming out of the oven.

There are some positives in this, with Christopher Meloni gone and Mariska Hargitay switching to part time, it might ease up on the budget in hiring someone who's willing to work for less. I remember the 2nd half of those season 12 episodes really strained on the show.

One suggestion someone brought up was that if Diane Neal was willing to come back that having a fresh face return could help ease the pain.

Though honestly I'm not sure who should be cast in Elliot's position.

sirmikelogan said...

First, the people who pout and say they'll never watch another SVU without Meloni (or another CI without VDO) are just such unbelievable idiots.

Second, and most importantly, I have mixed feelings about this. It's bad because SVU will most likely die a ratings death by the end of season 13. It's good because, over the past four seasons, both Stabler and Benson have transformed from damn good detectives to worthless douches who make bush league mistakes in every episode.

With Warren Leight at the helm and without Meloni and eventually Mariska around to guarantee unconditional allegiance from the E/O shippers, SVU might actually start trying again for more than a handful of episodes per season. I think the actual quality of the show will improve. It just won't be for long. Unless Jennifer Love Hewitt does come on board and turn some heads.

Someone floated the idea of Mike Logan in another thread. If you couldn't tell by my name, I wouldn't be at all opposed to that idea lol. Unfortunately I doubt it happens, with Noth still being with TGW and his previously expressed boredom of his L&O character. I wouldn't mind if Ice-T got promoted to the lead male role and then a new supporting character was to take his spot as the third wheel of sorts.

ReviveLawandOrderLA said...

@sirmikelogan

I actually thought Ice-T deserved to be pushed up in the cast. The Fin character is still in the development process wheras Benson/Stabler have since they "lead" the show for 5 seasons straight. I hate the personal lives of Benson/Stabler; I hope Leight ends the personal drama and resumes the" personal invested in a case" drama.

I feel like Diane Neal may wind up returning to SVU.

thinks said...

One of the problems has always been that no one responsible for the show, or at NBC for that matter, has heard of "if it works don't touch", and, "if they like it give them more". At the heyday of the show there was an undertone of "Olivia has a crush on Eliot", Eliot had a life and family, and the ADA was strong and likeable. The undertone of the crush was buried, Eliot's family moved to another planet, Christine Lahti's character was hideous and disastrous, Alex returned but then left us alone to drown in irrelevant ADAs, and the writing in season 12 was 50% OK and 50% insulting to the viewership. They could have survived Stabler's departure easily, dedicating an episode to it, and moving on with Olivia's life, and a solid ADA like the return of Casey, or Alex, or somebody like them. Instead, we get Ms. Love-H to finish us of? Not our fault if the powers that be continue smoking whatever it is they are smoking and I bet it's not even legal, whatever it is. There will always be some viewers somewhere who will watch anything. But the present viewership is being told their services are no longer needed -and Stabler's departure is the least of the real problems.

sunshinez1975 said...

SVU will survive with Mariska Hargitay. She's the one who holds the key to the show.


Wentworth Miller would be a good choice to replace Chris Meloni.

CLA said...

Mary

First of all I want to say I'm a fan of Chris Meloni and I think his departure will be a loss. However I will not fail to see SVU. I will give a chance to cast this new season, which also has new writers. If you like ver.Só still do not agree with some people who say Mariska had more chances of getting a prize that Cris. And Olivia's life was more focused than that of Stabler. Both had posted their personal dramas. The Eliot's even more than Olivia. Cris deserves an Emmy nomination. If she did not come, do not know why. One thing for sure. Benson and Stabler are unforgettable and irreplaceable. They represent a milestone in television. And no one should separate them. In regard to what they did over the years.

S. Walden said...

I wouldn't mind Chris leaving if they give him the send off he wanted (to go out with a bang, he said). I think the way Season 12 ended wasn't up to those standards. It's just another "Stablers gone too far" stunt that could go either way.
As far as Olivia hogging the show, I have no clue what that means. Stabler has been given too much screen time since Season 6 when his family drama started and even fans of ExK (such as myself) are sick of it.
Furthermore, a proper way to end this show would be to have Stabler and Olivia hook up in the last episode. I think that would give fans what they want (as opposed to the horrible teasing theyve baited these past two seasons just for ratings).
Also, they never explore into characters' backstory anymore. Munch and Fin were shoved into the background.
Finally, if they weren't getting JLH to "replace" Olivia, I might have some hope for the show, even without Stabler around. It's just she would make an AWFUL detective.

Esaul said...

Well. Sorry to ruin this illusion for you. But Stabler and Benson were never. ever. ever. ever. ever. ever. ever. ever. ever. (etc.) going to hook up. Ever. Mariska has said that, and Stabler loves his wife way too much, as we've seen already. And no offense, but it's people like that, the Benson/Stabler shippers that ruined this show for the past few years...

candycane said...

It would be nice if we could get Corey Stoll over to SVU. He had to relocate to LA for Law and Order Los Angeles.

I also feel like the Law and Order Franchise is on its way to the history books. No one wants to give LOLA a chance, SVU may lose viewers due to Meloni's departure and LOCI is in its last year.

Catherine said...

cont.
When casting for the new characters, don’t try to reproduce the old ones. We don’t need another Elliot Stabler, male or female. Create a new character with their own strengths and issues. Let the new female detective be married (one character needs to be) but with a husband who can’t find a job and is staying at home with their kid. Let the new male detective join the unit after a female family member was raped and treated poorly by the police.

Use the first 13 episodes to bring back Munch, Fin and Cragen. They have been gone so much that they need to be reestablished. Give each of them an episode or two where they are front and center. But the issue of retirement needs to be brought up for both Cragen and Munch.

It is possible for SVU to recover but only with a skilled team to do the transplants.

Catherine said...

If the only thing that was a problem with SVU was that Christopher Meloni was leaving then I would agree that people are being unwise with saying they will no longer watch the show. But it isn’t the only the problem. It’s not even the biggest problem.

No matter whom they bring in as the new detective(s) if the writing doesn’t improve. The first thing you are taught in a writing class is to write about what you know. This show used to be a well written drama with advisors about both police procedures and the law. Now what the audience is given is badly scripted melodrama with no regard for police procedures and the law. That has to change is you want people to watch for the stories being told.

The other piece that needs to change to improve the writing is a change in attitude for the producers. There is a new showrunner who will hopefully quash the sexism. Not all women are victims and not all men are monsters. Even the occasional woman who commits a crime is usually shown as a victim. In at least four recent episodes Olivia has helped escape justice because they were female victims. But the men who were abuse victims have to go to jail. That should not be the message TPTB send out.

One specific suggestion about the writing for season 13 is not write Elliot out of the show in the first episode. Explain his absence as part of the “Smoked” shootout. While IAB ruled it a justified shooting, Psych Services won’t let him back on the job until he has completed counseling. But counseling isn’t going to be enough and he has a real breakdown. Olivia boxes up the personal stuff on his desk and puts it in Cragen’s office. Later in the season they say that he’s retiring or something else but he’s not coming back to SVU. Maybe by that time producer/actor relations have improved and Elliot can at least come back to say goodbye. During a sweeps period of course.

Casting is going to be important. The first thing is not bring in a new male detective at the beginning of the season. Instead bring in the new female detective they were planning for midseason. Then bring in a new male detective when Olivia changes jobs. They would still be replacing the characters but it wouldn’t have that “in your face” feeling. And it will give them longer to come up with a new male lead.

nygma619 said...

@sirmikelogan:

saying they make mistakes in EVERY episode for the past 4 seasons is a huge stretch. Yes we saw them make mistakes in some episodes but I blamed the writing for that. I don't think it had anything to do with Hargitay or Meloni themselves.

Also (and this goes to Revive LA as well). As much as I like the character of Fin, I just don't think Ice T's chops as an actor make him lead material. I don't think Ice-T's a bad actor, I just don't think he's a great actor like Florek, Hargitay, Belzer, and Meloni.

Some of his solo episodes have ranged from decent(Haunted) to an waste of time(Outsider), and some of that does have to do with him. Luckily TPTB even in the later seasons knew what Ice-T's limitations(or range) as an actor was and for the most part they played to his strengths; something I wish I could say the same for others like Skeet Ulrich, or Terrance Howard over on LA.

nygma619 said...

Not to sound like this idea is a rip off of White Collar, but what if Elliot's succesor was a former pedophile turned cop who now uses those instincts for the good of society. It could create some good tension with other characters on the show.

ReviveLawandOrderLA said...

I'm surprised SVU fans haven't called Lee Tergesen's name to replace Meloni, he'd be the perfect replacement.

frutiger2966 said...

Chris Meloni leaving is only the tip of the iceberg of what is wrong with SVU. The writing has been terrible and hiring warren Leight was a mistake. He totally bogged down CI. and now Jennifer Love Hewitt as a cop ridiculous. Ihave been faithful viewer for 12 years but this is the last straw for me. I doubt Lee Tergersen wants Chris' sloppy seconds.

Jojo said...

SVU is the only one in the franchise that I've ever been a fan of, so I think that pretty sums up the kind of viewer I am: I love the characters on SVU. I don't think it's really fair to assume that those of us who watch the show for the characters are "idiots" or that we merely profess to be fans without sincerity.

Characters and a big part of any TV show. Some shows more than others - obviously with procedurals it's less important but it *is* important nonetheless. Even if the story is good, it's very hard to sit through it when I can't stand the person who's telling the story.

I'm happy to keep watching without the current leads, but I'll evaluate it like I would a new show: if I don't like the people in it, I won't sit around watching it just because I need to keep the "fan" tag. I still think the future is bleak but I'm happy to be proven wrong. I still watch CSI after some fairly big cast changes, but I hope SVU doesn't cast a really big name like CSI did with Laurence Fishbourne.

Anne said...

I have been a huge SVU fan for years and before that a regular Law and Order fan. I will not watch SVU anymore. SVU without Chris will just not be watchable anymore and I did not appreciate how they ended it for him. SVU was already getting so preachy and strange and I have not like what they have been doing to the characters. The writing was very inconsistent but when it was good Chris could always sell it for me. I do not want to watch Jennifer love hewitt try to be a cop and Mariska has been on the way out for the last few seasons. Their partnership was wonderful back in the day but without it there is very little left for me to be interested in. The changing ADA's and lack of courtroom legal action was bad too. They really should have ended it a few seasons ago but now I am done.

gahks said...

I agree with a lot of Catherine's suggestions for the show's transition into the new season and the new cast. Maybe now that 'Law & Order: LA' is cancelled, Alana de la Garza could be hired as a permanent ADA? A married (female or male) detective is a good idea, but I would also argue there needs to be greater and more progressive LGBT representation on the show. Not just have LGBTs as victims or criminals, but also an out detective (who is a rounded character and doesn't just hog the LGBT interest cases e.g. male rape).

Not so sure about nygma's suggestion of the paedophile-turned-cop (but it might give us a good reason to get some couch time with B.D. Wong if the guy needs counselling to try to control his impulses). However, I'm even less in favour of the JLH casting as Benson's replacement. Go with (relative) unknowns. After all, that's how "Law & Order" found some superb actors and actresses (de la Garza, Linus Roache, S. Epatha Merkerson)... I could go on.

Anne said...

If you've watched any of SVU over the years you would know that paedophiles do not get better and could certainly not become policeman let alone a special victims detectives. B.D Wong has a new series so I would imagine he is gone now too.

I would agree about the hiring of unknowns. Chris and Mariska were pretty much unknowns when this show started and that turned out great. The only thing about unknowns is that I don't think this show has the time or luxury for unknowns to get going. Its already at the brink and will probably follow Law and Order and LOLA soon.

WOLF PACK LEDGER said...

Somewhat sad.I knew both Meloni and Hargitay were going to have to leave at some point but they both deserve a decent sendoff.
If they kill Meloni's character, something I suspect they might do it will only serve to irritate the fans and make the show go off the air that much quicker.

Love is a nice young woman I am sure but she cannot be Olivia's replacement.It just floors me they consider her as a replacement.
I don't know who they can get as a replacement but it should be someone relatively unknown.If they try to get a big name person just for a flash effect it will backfire.
So Wolf needs two decent relatively unknowns and excellent writing to ease Benson and Stabler out and the two new detectives in.
I don't expect they will even come close in having a successful transition.

Maybe Wolf should consider going the made for tv movie route and get out of episode driven shows altogether.It would be a lot easier.

Alicja Buczkowska said...

I agree with Gahks above, we need unknown actors and actresses. And, maybe if SVU does end, the mothership could return. I have been watching L&O since Season 1 when I was a little girl. We have seen the changes. SVU isn't a show like Castle, where you can't have a revolving door of new actors/actresses. If SVU does get cancelled, I would blame it on the writers and producers. We need episodes like the ones in season 1, storylines that made sense, and a little bit about the detectives personal lives....

nygma619 said...

the mothership IS NOT coming back, when is everyone going to get that through their heads. The problem with an unknown actor is that them not having a following might not do the show any favors ratings wise with Meloni not coming back.

This is a delicate situation for SVU right now.

xfool said...

Contract negotiations are two sided. Don't blame Dick Wolf or NBC because it was probably Chris who made the decision to part ways. Remember, he said in February last year that he would be out after season 12 was over. He later attributed that comment to a confusing statement he made to the reporter but I wonder now if Chris hadn't planned to exit all along.

Casting IS key here. If they get the right person to pair with Mariska, ratings could hold steady or even improve. When Mariska starts the episodes where she gets less screen time because of her character's promotion, maybe this new male lead will have gained a foothold with fans.

I am sad to see Chris go, but he has his reasons for leaving. The fact that the show sealed the deal with Mariska FIRST tells me they value her more and think she is more critical to the series. I think that this change could mean good things for the show and I am not in a hurry to write it off.

WOLF PACK LEDGER said...

I know the mothership isn't coming back.
That show was just too expensive and didn't draw enough to overcome the cost.It still floors me that 2and a 1/2 men can be so successful and have paid Sheen such an ungodly amount of money while quality shows suffer in keeping their casts together and staying on the air.
Someone mentioned Wentworth Miller for Meloni's position.I don't know him well enough.
Too, a well established actor isn't going to work for nothing. If they can't pay Meloni why should someone who is a star settle for less money.
oh well....

I use to watch Cold Case, so if they could take a look at the cast from that show they might find someone they could use.Or someone from the cast of Without a Trace.


Who do we want to replace Meloni and Hargitay ?
Not an easy decision to make.

sunshinez1975 said...

Wentworth Miller would be an excellecnt choice to replace Chris Meloni.

frutiger2966 said...

God no - Wentworth Miller was weak and mumbled his way thru that episode and had zilch chemistry with Mariska. Not that it matters because she is basically done half way thru the season. She should have left too. Her heart has obviously not been on the show for the last few seasons. This will be a gamble for SVU but I have a feeling it is going down the same way L&O, CI and LOLA did this year. Regardless we have watched our last SVU and this was the last thing we watched on NBC too.

WOLF PACK LEDGER said...

Mariska had that collapsed lung issue to deal with as well as this child she is now raising.
shrugs.
I think her heart was in it as was Meloni's.The writing was awful and bringing in dubious characters like Sharon Stone as well as keeping the supplimentary characters off the show like Belzer and the ME didn't help either.


I spend most of my free time reading about real cases. Giving up on finding a decent crime fiction show on tv.

Esaul said...

Well first, there's a small, very small rumor that they're trying to bring back the original for one last season. I've seen it mentioned once on tvbythenumbers. But again, very small rumor. So you never know. And the original wasn't cancelled over the price of the show. It was cancelled because of Jeff Zucker, plain and simple. They had full intention of renewing it before the Leno-Conan fiasco went down.

Second - NBC was confident that Meloni was returning all along. So it was clear that he had no intention of leaving, he wanted to negotiate his contract, and get the money that he deserves. So yes, you can essentially blame NBC for his departure. As far as I'm concerned, Chris deserves the money he's asking for. Twelve years on a show is a lot. He isn't getting anywhere close to how much Charlie Sheen was getting paid, and he was doing a sitcom, a half hour show, and hasn't been on as long as SVU as either. And not just that, but SVU's NBC's best rated drama. It's gonna fall sharply now, whether we like it or not. Everyone I've talked to said they won't watch either because Mariska is probably leaving after her 13 episode stint, or because Meloni's gone.

And chances are, Meloni's not getting a proper send off either, just because he didn't renew his contract. They're not obligated to bring him back for closure. They're probably gonna write him off, as I see it. And as I see it, why should he get a send off anyway? He chose to leave. It's not like NBC showed him the door. So despite how I feel about him getting the money he wants, he shouldn't get a "proper" send off.

As for getting an unknown actor to fill in the void...that won't work at all. Sure, story wise, possibly. But how will you get viewers to tune in if you don't have a big name? If you get unknown actors, that will just kill the show.

Alicja Buczkowska said...

@Esaul You have a point about the unknown actor thing. The idea of having JLH replace Olivia still makes me cringe, though.

Hell, if NBC is desperate enough, they would get Charlie Sheen to replace Meloni. That would kill the show, certainly. Maybe they could move SVU to USA, the writers over there are great.

They could have Mariska paired up with a detective younger than her, and set the relationship as big sister, little sister or big sister, little brother, like with Munch and Cassidy.

gahks said...

Charlie Sheen to replace Chris Meloni? Now there's an idea for an 'SNL' sketch... a group of NBC bigwigs discussing how best to euthanise 'SVU' xDD

Alicja Buczkowska said...

Or, Charlie Sheen could be the new ADA and he could be "winning" the cases, LOL XD

nygma619 said...

@ xfool: if meloni was truly genuine in his comments on leaving SVU last year, I think we would've got a better sendoff for him than we did. This isn't the first time an actor left when wolf couldn't get an actor to agree to THEIR contract. See Chris Noth.

Also I think Mariska getting her's done first was just a coincidence mostly because she agreed to part time. And didn't show favoritism.

Yurune said...

Lol @ detective/ADA Charlie Sheen! Thanks for the comic relief, Alicja!

I agree with Esaul, they should bring in actors from other L&Os. I LOVE IT when they do that. Jeremy Sisto would be great. Other than that I would prefer unknown actors. It sort of irks me when a show gets popular, they start parading in the "famous actors". But I really don't have a problem with JLH, I don't see why everyone is up in arms about her. If they want a big name, they should get Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost,V), I could really see her being excellent as a detective.

Like Gahks said, it would interesting to a LGBT detective. And maybe a goth ADA. You never see goths on L&O that aren't victims or criminals, it would be nice to see some balance for a change.

gahks said...

When Alicja mentioned Cassidy, I had a thought... maybe Dean Winters should return to replace Chris Meloni! Who's in?

Alicja Buczkowska said...

I'm up for the idea of Cassidy replacing Meloni. It would bring some tension for Benson, 'cause they had their little fling so long ago. Plus, Munch and Cassidy together were really funny :)Then, when Benson leaves in the middle of the season, they get someone younger than Cassidy (preferably a woman, so the cast won't be male dominant), to act as a younger sister/brother. Genius, they should hire us ATL&O readers to be producers and writers (leaving out the "shippers" of course, we don't want to kill the show that way)

gahks said...

Indeed, or Warren Leight needs to be reading this! lol!

Thinking about this more clearly, I'd have Dean Winters return in an interim capacity, maybe for the first 13 or so episodes, in order to establish a transition to a new pairing. (For those 13, he'd get star billing.) The permanent leads would be a reversal of the Benson/Stabler duo to some degree: an older or more experienced female with a younger or less experienced male. I'm thinking Lee Pace for the latter, and his character, having recently coming out, would be struggling to come to terms with his confused sexuality. Maybe someone like Melissa Leo for the former? That could be awesome! Thoughts?

Alicja Buczkowska said...

I like the idea of Melissa Leo, I looked at her Wikipedia and it seems as if she has experience with the brandchise, having been on "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and guest starring on various others. I'm not really familiar with Lee Pace, but he was in "The Fall" which I thought was an amazing movie.

Having a detective struggle with sexuality would bring a whole new feel to the show. It would certainly bring much more viewers, not to mention interesting "shipper" pairings to deal with. There are SO many actors and actresses to choose from to fill the voids in casting, I dunno which one to choose....

gahks said...

Yeah. I really really hope Leight does right by the show, it's up against 'CSI' next year in the Wed 10/9c timeslot so the competition will be much tougher than this year. He's got his work cut out and will have to show some mettle and imagination if he's going to succeed.

Alicja Buczkowska said...

I've had enough of all these producers wanting to compete with L&O. No matter how hard you try, you aren't good enough to be called "Better than the Law and Order franchise". I hope once they announce Meloni's replacement the viewers come back again. The franchise can't die out, they have to salvage what imagination they can get...

gahks said...

Alicja, I smiled when I read that, and it reminded me of exactly why I turned to "Law & Order" from "CSI" in the first place. No matter how many producers try to be "Law & Order" copycats, they can't repeat the vitality, originality and grittiness of the franchise's best seasons and best moments.

gahks said...

Quick addendum: Returning to the question of "SVU" season 13 casting, I think for the first 13 episodes or so, the cast ought to look like this:

Dean Winters (as Det. Brian Cassidy)
Mariska Hargitay
Richard Belzer
Ice-T
Melissa Sagemiller
Julia Ormond (reprising her 'CI' role as Dr. Gyson)
Tamara Tunie
Dann Florek

Midseason cast:
Melissa Leo
Lee Pace
Richard Belzer
Ice-T
Melissa Sagemiller
Julia Ormond
Tamara Tunie
Dann Florek
(with special guest appearances by Mariska Hargitay)

So! Thoughts?

WB said...

Law and Order without Benson and Stabler, it was a great 12 years. RIP Law and Order SVU. Thank God for reruns.