To be(ard) or not to be(ard). That’s the age-old question that has plagued dedicated “Law & Order” fans for years. We saw Elliot Stabler rock both looks through the course of his 12-season-run on “Law & Order: SVU,” but the debate came back tenfold with his resurgence in the “Law & Order: Organized Crime” spinoff.
NBC likes to drudge up the conversation every now and then over on their various social media platforms. Most recently, they posted a photo of Stabler’s bearded look to Instagram and we’ve compiled some of the fans’ strongest opinions.
Fans Totally Split on the Topic of Stabler’s Beard on the Official ‘Law & Order’ Instagram Page
Here’s the photo that NBC shared on their Instagram page that got the fans all riled up. And for good reason, too. I mean look at that beauty. It’s like a page straight out of Men’s Health magazine (which Meloni has stripped down naked for by the way).
So, should Stabler have kept the beard? The caption asks for “honesty” and that’s what the network got.
@kimmi_boo shared a “Hell no😂” which is backed up by a handful of other fans.
@tacodingoo found themself in a state of mourning, writing: “Never knew how much I needed it until it was gone 😩”
@carmela.sthilaire said they vote for whatever look keeps the romance going, writing: “it’s whatever Olivia wants”
Peacock TV also slid in with their own reply adding “Beard or no beard, we don’t care. 🔥”
All in all, the debate stays heated with no conclusion in sight. But, that begs the question: why did the writers change Meloni’s look in the first place?
Stabler’s Beard Acted As a Metaphor During His Undercover Plot
Fans of “Law & Order: Organized Crime” know that Christopher Meloni’s Elliot Stabler had to fit a certain profile for his undercover stint. While trying to take down the Albanian mob from the inside, Stabler’s character needed to look “rough around the edges” himself in order to fit in. And the beard definitely helped with that. So once his undercover services were no longer needed, Elliot needed to move on.
Showrunner Ilene Chaiken caught up with TV Line to break the stylistic change down. When asked whether or not the writers always had an expiration date for the beard, Chaiken answered with the following:
“Well, let’s say it’s always been our intention, as the beard pretty much symbolized his undercover persona and his hiding from himself. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a discussion about it.”
So, for now, it’s a bon voyage. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t see some killer facial hair in the seasons to come.