Some Law & Order fans have pretty mixed feelings about Stabler. In a recent Reddit thread, some of these fans took to discussing why they aren’t so sure about the TV detective. Stabler has been a Law & Order staple since Law & Order: SVU premiered in 1999. Christopher Meloni, who plays stabler, recently returned to the Law & Order universe after almost a decade-long break.
But he definitely doesn’t have the most ethical ways of getting information. And while he has strong motivations, many fans think that he crosses the line a bit too much.
One fan, who’s been watching the show since it came out, started the thread. In his original post, he discusses why “loving this character is complicated.”
First, even when Stabler does something upsetting, it’s hard not to care because he’s so well written. He has such established motivations.
But unfortunately, Stabler is really harsh on perpetrators. Since it’s fiction, all of these suspects do turn out to be guilty. But it’s a concerning pattern of behavior that in the real world wouldn’t always be directed at people who are actually guilty. Not to mention, it would get some convictions overturned.
“This is the kind of behaviour that gets convictions overturned on technicalities! I’m glad that they eventually addressed this, but godd**n…!” the fan wrote.
This fan feels conflicted between understanding the fans who say it’s all fiction and that Stabler’s treatment of those suspected of sexual assault may be cathartic and fans who believe Stabler’s behavior on a popular TV show set a poor precedent.
‘Law & Order’ Fans Agree that Liking Stabler is Complicated
One fan completely agreed. And also added that not everything on the TV screen translates well to real life. You can love a character even if you’d not really like him if he was real.
“What makes for interesting tv doesn’t always translate to real life,” one Reddit user wrote. “I personally love villains in a lot of movies/tv shows. But there’s no way I would love them if they actually existed! If people ask me whether I like Elliot’s character or what I would think if he was a real cop my answer would be different, too.”
But this fan also really likes where Law & Order: Organized Crime is taking Stabler. It portrays him as almost an “anti-hero” and while it’s clear he’s trying to have a bit of a redemption arc, this new era Stabler isn’t necessarily meant to be the good guy all the time. He’s coming off a bit more morally gray.
“And for what it’s worth, I am loving OC! They seem to be treating him as a bit of an antihero on a redemption arc in the writing style and it works, [in my opinion],” the fan wrote.
If you want to watch Stabler on Law & Order: Organized Crime, it airs every Thursday night at 10/9 central on NBC.