Christopher Meloni Opens Up About Why He Originally Left Law & Order: SVU

Published on August 6, 2021.

Press Association

Law & Order: Organized Crime star Christopher Meloni is opening up about his TV career and why he really left Law & Order: SVU the first time.

Meloni exited Law & Order: SVU almost 10 years ago, but decided to step back into the popular role of Detective Elliot Stabler this past April in a new version of the series, Law & Order: Organized Crime. 

The star shared that when it comes to the reason behind why he left the first time, he revealed that NBC didn’t want to pay him more money to continue the role. “My thought was: Instead of 22 episodes, bring me back for nine episodes, or bring me back for 18 episodes,” he explained. “They literally came to me on a Thursday night and said, ‘This is the deal. We want the answer by tomorrow. It’s our way or no way.’ ”

Meloni wasn’t happy with the way NBC approach the topic and explained that he told the network, “I don’t want to f**k around with you guys. This is what I want. If you can’t do it, that’s fine. Let’s figure out my exit.”

Almost a decade later, Meloni has now returned to the role, but in a much more laid-back way. “This time around with the Law & Order ride, I’m not stressed by: Will it go well? Will it not go well? Not that I know how it’s going to go,” he says of the show. “Just that, eh, just ride. Just do, just be.”

“There are bigger things, more important things. I know how important this is to me, but I have a clearer vision of life,” he says. “I know a little more about love. I know a little more about real pain. I know about joy. I know better management skills. As you go through life, you get a clearer understanding of things, of your holes and of your gifts.”

Law & Order SVU: Behind The Scenes Secrets

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Law & Order SVU: Behind The Scenes Secrets

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