‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’: What Did Chris Meloni Do Between Stints as Stabler?

by Suzanne Halliburton

Christopher Meloni is embracing Elliot Stabler, reviving the character for Law & Order: Organized Crime after leaving the franchise for a decade.

Meloni is an athletic 61. He’s the guy who posts photos to show off his water skiing skills as he relaxes while on hiatus. Law & Order: Organized Crime enjoyed an abbreviated eight-episode run in the spring of 2021. We saw the full Stabler experience this past season as went undercover to break up an Albanian gang and a group of rogue cops. Then he had to match Alpha instincts with Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott), who ordered the murder of Stabler’s wife. And all the while, Stabler was jumping through windows or running down criminals. He even bested the hit woman sent to kill him.

It’s as if Stabler never left us, he merely moved from SVU and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) to Law & Order: Organized Crime and new partner Ayanna Bell (Danielle Mone Truitt). It was just a change in offices. But back in 2011, Meloni asked for more money or less work for the same salary. NBC said no to his requests and Meloni abruptly left. Hargitay’s Benson never got to say goodbye. Here’s what happened. Stabler shot and killed a teenager who came to the precinct to avenge her mother’s death. After she killed three people, including a nun, Stabler shot her before she could take out her mother’s killer. Early in season 13, Captain Cragen told Benson that her partner resigned.

Meloni Played a Vampire on True Blood After Leaving SVU

So that brings us to the question. What did Meloni do between Stabler stints? What projects kept him busy between Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime. He told People he went “off on new adventures and doing what I wanted to do. Telling the stories I wanted to tell. … I couldn’t have been happier.”

And the characters he played looked nothing like Stabler’s tough-guy cop. Need an example? How about playing Roman Zimojic on HBO’s True Blood back in 2012. Roman was a 500-year-old vampire who led the Vampire Authority. That made him the de facto leader of all the vampires on Earth. And Roman wanted humans and vampires to exist together, peacefully. But alas, Roman meets the true death when arch-enemy Russell stakes him in the chest.

Did Playing a Hitman Help Meloni on Law & Order: Organized Crime?

Then in 2014, Meloni starred in the short-lived Fox series Surviving Jack. His character was former military and a doctor trying to raise his kids after his wife went back to law school. It’s cool if you don’t recall this piece of Meloni history. Fox pulled the series after seven episodes.

And how’s this for an anti-Stabler role? Meloni portrayed Nick Sax, a former cop turned sociopathic hitman, in the Syfy series Happy!

Before he returned to Elliot Stabler in Law & Order: Organized Crime, Meloni was a creepy, recurring character in Handmaid’s Tale.

Wait, Meloni did more bizarre characters before he embraced Stabler again on Law & Order: Organized Crime. How about High Commander Winslow of Gilead on the Handmaid’s Tale? He met an untimely death when June fought off his advances and stabbed him multiple times with a pen. She got rid of the body and her Martha friends eventually burned up poor, devious, power-hungry Winslow.

There were more non-traditional characters. Meloni voiced Commissioner James Gordon on the Harley Quinn animated series. He even did an episode of the rebooted Twilight Zone.

Thankfully, Meloni is back as Stabler investigating NYC’s most complicated criminals. The season three premiere is on Sept. 22.