Does Christopher Meloni Regret Leaving ‘Law & Order: SVU’?

Fan favorite and show staple Elliot Stabler spent 12 seasons on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Christopher Meloni was even nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Detective Stabler. But, after the show’s 12th season, Meloni didn’t return to the show to play Det. Stabler for season 13. Although fans have mourned the loss for more than 8 years, Meloni doesn’t regret his decision. 

Christopher Meloni played Detective Stabler on ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Christopher Meloni
Christopher Meloni | Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson were the perfect matchups as partners on the NYC police force. When the show began in 1999, Mariska Hargitay and Meloni were cast to play the front runners as the key detectives on the series. As the most integral stars of the show, the two solved sex crimes and won over fans for more than a decade.

They had great chemistry as partners in the NYPD’s sex crimes unit and the show had nearly instant popularity. It recently has been renewed for a record-breaking 21st season on NBC.

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Meloni decided to leave the show before the 13th season began filming. Rumors indicate that Meloni and show’s producers couldn’t come to an agreement surrounding the actor’s contract so he left the show to seek other opportunities. He was replaced by Detective Nick Amaro, played by Danny Pino. Although Detective Benson is still the show’s leading actress, fans had mixed feelings about Meloni’s departure.

Does Christopher Meloni regret leaving ‘Law & Order: SVU’?

No, and he’s not afraid to talk about his lack of regret. In an interview with Andy Cohen, Meloni makes it very clear he doesn’t regret his decision to leave Law & Order: SVU at all. In fact, when asked if he ever has any second thoughts about leaving the show, the actor definitively shook his head.

“Not for a day,” Meloni responded. “Not for a day.”

He explains that he just knew it was time to move on from the show when contract negotiations failed. Christopher realizes that the show was a hit and he loved his time there and the relationships he built with cast members. It’s evident when we get a sneak peek of his ongoing friendship with Hargitay on their Instagram accounts.

Christopher Meloni is now working on Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Meloni recently starred in a recurring role on Hulu’s original The Handmaid’s Tale.  He joins the show as Commander Winslow for season 3 alongside new castmate Elizabeth Reaser, who plays his wife.

In his interview, Meloni mentions that it has been fun to play a rebellious character in Gilead, a society in which there are severe consequences for breaking the rules. When asked about the role, he mentioned that the commanders in Gilead are often fearful of the world they’ve created. His character doesn’t seem to worry about societal constraints. Maybe Meloni is drawing from some of his previous experience playing people of power as he nails it in his portrayal of Commander Winslow.

“Commanders were linear guys who were kind of fearful and didn’t want to step outside the established norms,” Meloni explains. “…there’s a high price to pay when you make a mistake in The Handmaid’s Tale, and I wanted to present a guy who didn’t have those constraints, because he is the power structure, so the unacceptable behaviors for others is acceptable for him. So it was fun to play almost a rebellious character within a very structured environment.”

Fans of Meloni’s role on Law & Order: SVU were excited to see him appearing in a new venture, their pleasure appeared all over Twitter. If you need more Meloni in your life, he can also be found on Syfy’s Happy!.