Law & Order: SVU’s Most Shocking Exit Would Never Be An Issue If It Wasn't For NBC's Greed
Let’s face it, the studios had it all coming.
One of the darkest days for any Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fan was the day the news of Christopher Meloni's departure hit the media. Whether you loved or hated Elliot Stabler, there was no doubt that the show would never be the same without him, so the fandom spent weeks mourning his departure.
Though the producers were smart enough not to kill Stabler off completely, and he was welcomed back into the Law & Order universe in 2021 to lead another spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crimes, the audience could easily agree on a decision that would have been even smarter. Not to let the actor go at all.
Considering the importance of Elliot Stabler to the cast and storyline of SVU, one would imagine that the studio did everything in its power to negotiate with the actor and keep him in one way or another. However, according to Christopher Meloni himself, NBC was in no mood to compromise.
The dispute started after the actor requested a change in his contract for the upcoming season 13 and asked for an increase in his pay for the show.
NBC wasn't willing to pay that amount, but they also refused any attempts by the actor's team to negotiate a deal that would be beneficial to both sides. Meloni offered his side of the story in an interview with Men's Health in 2021:
“My thought was: Instead of 22 episodes, bring me back for nine episodes, or bring me back for 18 episodes. 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,’” the actor recalled.
The dispute between the actor and the creators resulted in a 10-year hiatus from the Law & Order universe for Elliot Stabler, and a heartbreak for fans of the show in general and his character in particular. It's good to know that the communication channel has been kept open for a possible comeback, but it must have taken some time to work through all the past issues.
Fortunately, now that the actor is back and both of his legacy shows in the Dick Wolf universe have been renewed for their respective upcoming seasons, you can expect to see more of Elliot Stabler once the SAG-AFTRA strike is resolved.
Source: Men’s Health