‘Law & Order’: How Much Did Chris Meloni Make Per ‘SVU’ Episode?

by Megan Molseed

Christopher Meloni may very well be one of NYPD’s richest detectives. Well, as an actor who plays one of America’s favorite detectives, he certainly earns more than the average officer. At least that’s what Celebrity Networth reports. According to Celebrity Networth, the “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Law and Order: Organized Crime” star was worth $30 million in 2020. One can only assume that this number has increased a bit, now that Chris Meloni has reprised his role as the beloved detective Elliot Stabler in the “Law and Order” franchise. 

Contract Negotiations Led Meloni to End His Time On ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’

Christopher Meloni played Detective Elliot Stabler on the hit NBC series “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” from 1999 until 2011. Meloni played partner to Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson on the hit NBC crime-drama series. The show quickly became a hit, earning top ratings each week. It wasn’t long before the duo quickly became one of television’s most beloved partnerships.

For over 11 years, Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler worked together on “Law and Order: SVU” to solve crimes and keep the streets of New York as safe as possible. And the fans ate it up. This partnership remained until Christopher Meloni decided to quit the show in 2011. 

Then, Christoper Meloni unexpectedly exits the series before the start of the hit show’s 13th season, shocking dedicated fans. It is widely reported that contract negotiation issues are the source of Meloni’s departure from the series.

Stabler’s Exit Was Swift, and Unexpected

There was very little time for the actor to say goodbye to the series. The final decision was made between seasons. 

During Stabler’s last moments on “SVU,” he had fired his gun to stop the daughter of a murder victim from seeking revenge. She had already shot three people by the time Stabler got to her. The shot ends up being a fatal one, and she dies in Stabler’s arms.

To explain his absence in season 13, and going forward, the show reveals that Stabler is placed on administrative leave. Stabler resists the reinstatement requirements.

Stablers eventual decision to retire from the NYPD shocks is his longtime “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” partner.

It has been reported that at the time of Meloni’s departure from the series, he was making $400,000 per “Law and Order: SVU” episode. The same amount costar Mariska Hargitay was making, according to reports

Since his departure from the “Law and Order” franchise in 2011, Meloni has now reprised his role as Elliot Stabler. The popular detective has now returned to prime time on “Law and Order’s” newest show, “Law and Order: Organized Crime.”