‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’: Here’s Where Christopher Meloni Honed His Acting Chops

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Christopher Meloni may have settled down in New York City with his “Law & Order: Organized Crime” show, but he’s traveled the country to hone his acting skills.

After all the leg work and training, Meloni’s estimated net worth is around $30 million by Celebrity Net Worth. 

The man has some staying power as well as 12 years with “Law & Order: SVU” and now “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”

Cross-Country Fun For Meloni

Born in Washington, D.C., Christopher Meloni went to high school and played football in Alexandria, Va. He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, taking his first acting elective class as a sophomore. In his junior year, he tried his luck acting in Los Angeles. But it was a failed attempt, and soon, he returned to Colorado. 

But it wasn’t until he made it to the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. 

After graduating from UC-Boulder in 1983, he took a summer program at The Neighborhood Playhouse, located in Manhattan. The training consisted of two-night-a-week classes, and Meloni struggled to pay the bills. He filled his life with commercials, short TV series and other small roles.

The school has a long list of successful alum. Coincidentally, “Law & Order: Organized Crime” Season 1 villain Dylan McDermott is also an alum of the school. McDermott attended after graduating from Fordham University in 1983.

But, by 1986, Christopher Meloni got his first commercial job.  

Two years later, Meloni was a full-time commercial actor and had a television role on an HBO sitcom, “1st and Ten.”

Christopher Meloni Didn’t Have Acting Bug Early

According to a college newspaper story in September, Christopher Meloni didn’t know where he would end up in life.

Many childhood fantasies included pro football, pro basketball, medicine, engineering, and law enforcement.

At CU-Boulder, he began classes thinking he’d become an engineer.

“You try all (of these identities) on like a suit, just trying to see how it fits and feels,” Meloni told the CU Independent. “And at the end of the day, I realized I was better at pretending at all of these things. I was better at and more engaged at telling stories than I was at reality.”

One Small Role For Meloni

In 2005, Christopher Meloni had one guest appearance in a now-defunct “Law & Order” spinoff.

According to IMDb, Meloni’s Detective Elliot Stabler character came to “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” in 2005.

In the “Day” episode, Stabler and Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, are on the job again. In the episode, they help out in a serial rapist case. Notably, former “Cheers” alum Bebe Neuwirth is an assistant district attorney, working to uncover multiple rapes.

The “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” show lasted one season, pulling in an average of 10 million viewers on a 10 p.m. Friday viewing slot.