‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’: Chris Meloni Gives His Thoughts on Defund the Police Movement

by Suzanne Halliburton

Law & Order: Organized Crime star Christopher Meloni is one of the most recognizable cops in TV history. He’s Elliot Stabler, the detective who wants to play by the rules, but doesn’t mind throwing down with criminals.

Meloni portrayed Stabler for a dozen years on Law & Order: SVU before leaving the show because of a contract dispute with NBC. Now, he’s in his third season with Law & Order: Organized Crime. Meloni’s Stabler is still impetuous and sometimes way too aggressive. He gets emotional and overprotective. But let it be known. Stabler has calmed down.

However, he’s still very gif-able.

Meloni Says Real Cops Are Assigned ‘Too Many Hats’

Writers created a back story for Stabler to explain the 10 years he spent away from the Law & Order universe. Basically, Stabler was chasing bad guys from Italy. Now, he’s back in NYC, but working for the Organized Crime Task Force.

The Wall Street Journal recently conducted a Q&A with Meloni. And here’s a question asked by the reporter:

New York City has been through so much since “Law and Order: SVU” debuted. How do you think Elliot has evolved with the city as the backdrop? 

And that’s when Meloni brought up the idea of “defund the police.” It’s a movement that had its genesis during the summer of protests following the death of George Floyd in 2020.

Meloni provided a nuanced answer. “I think (Stabler) is acutely aware of the changing times and he knows where he stands. For example, our knee-jerk reaction is to say things like “defund the police.” I, as in me personally, think that’s a poorly stated way of saying the police are overtasked. They’re asked to wear too many hats.

“We tell storylines like this on the show, where bad cops make it difficult for good police to do their job, and for the department as a whole to do their job. It hurts the whole image of the department. That’s how we reintroduce Stabler on “Organized Crime.” He has been out of America, and when he comes back there’s room for him to be a little bit shocked by how things have changed. And you know, he has the tools necessary to cope with it.”

Law & Order: Organized Crime Dealt with Rogue Cops in Season Two

Law & Order: Organized Crime spent eight episodes in season two dealing with rogue cops. Stabler went undercover as himself. But in this assignment, Stabler was an angry cop serving a suspension. Frank Donnelly (Denis Leary) was the ringleader of the Brotherhood, and he recruited Stabler to the group. The Brotherhood was filled with cops who did their jobs well. However, they started stealing from the criminals. While undercover, Stabler and Frank got so close as friends that Frank gave his newborn son the middle name Elliot. Stabler felt conflicted investigating the group. And he was devastated when Frank jumped in front of a train to commit suicide rather than be arrested.

But that was all behind Stabler during the three-hour, Law & Order crossover event Thursday night.

Stabler was his typical, conflicted self in the premiere. He was territorial over a case. It broke him when his new informant, Vince, was killed while gathering intel. He then dared the murderer to reach for his gun so Stabler could shoot him dead.

By the end of the three hours, Stabler still was beating up the bad guys if they tried to run. Fans on social media joked that writers rewarded Meloni’s Stabler by giving him more fights than usual.