‘Law & Order: SVU’: Christopher Meloni Says an ‘Inelegant’ Contract Dispute Led to His Exit

Law & Order: Organized Crime is on the way and longtime Law & Order franchise fans couldn’t be more excited. Notably, the series will feature the return of fan-favorite character, Elliott Stabler (Christopher Meloni), to the franchise. In a new interview, Meloni talked about the contract dispute that led him to leave Law & Order: SVU to begin with.

Christopher Meloni at The IMDb Show
Christopher Meloni | Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

When ‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ starring Christopher Meloni premiere?

Per a press release from the network, Law & Order: Organizied Crime will follow Stabler, “who returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss.” Right now, the “devastating personal loss” that Stabler is going through is unclear, but it seems like it will be a major factor in the show’s storyline and plot.

“The city and police department have changed dramatically in the decade he’s been away, and he must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning,” the official description adds. This spinoff will see Stabler “find absolution and rebuild his life, while leading a new elite task force that is taking apart the city’s most powerful criminal syndicates one by one.”

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On returning to the Law & Order franchise after a lengthy break, Meloni previously stated that it is good to be back and the timing was right. “A certain piece just fell into place,” the actor said to ET Online, “For me, there were just personal things that I was like, ‘You know, now is a good time.’ That was it. There was nothing secret. It just was effortlessly correct. It’s one of these [things where] I felt like I believed in the stars and all that… I’d go, ‘Oh, the stars are telling me you know but because it was just right.’”

New details on why Christopher Meloni left ‘Law & Order: SVU’ several years ago

With Law & Order: Organized Crime premiering soon, Meloni recently did an interview in which he talked about his exit from Law & Order: SVU.

“For me, it was about how things fell out — and the word I’ll use is that it was inelegant,” Meloni told People magazine (as reported by TVLine) in regards to his contract dispute. “At the end of the day, how it was handled was, ‘Okay, see you later.’ So I went, ‘That’s fine. We’re all big boys and girls here. See you later.’ And I was off on new adventures and doing what I wanted to do.”

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Even though he left the show, he remained close with longtime co-star and scene partner, Mariska Hargitay. “I couldn’t have been happier. But she and I,” he said. “We stayed connected.”

“”In television, when somebody leaves, obviously there’s a grieving period, but the fans never moved on,” added Hargitay. “And I think that is just so incredibly beautiful and so incredibly powerful.”