‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Mariska Hargitay Detailed Chris Meloni’s ‘Sad’ Departure from Show

by Joe Rutland

When “Law & Order: SVU” star Mariska Hargitay saw Christopher Meloni leave after 12 seasons, it broke up one of TV’s enduring teams.

Hargitay, who has played Olivia Benson for 22 seasons on the NBC crime show, remembered seeing Meloni, who played Elliot Stabler, leave. When talking about it, Hargitay mentions other stars that have arrived and left the show in recent years.

“When Danny Pino [Det. Nick Amaro] and Kelli Giddish [Det. Amanda Rollins] arrived [in Season 13], I felt like I was almost on a new series,” Hargitay told TV Insider in 2018. “Those two brought a completely new energy.

“It was really sad when Danny left [in 2015],” she said. “We wrote him a song with a Cuban beat. When Raúl [Esparza, aka ADA Rafael Barba] left [earlier this year], we threw a party and offered toasts. With Andy Karl [Sgt. Mike Dodds, killed off in 2016], we went to dinner. We’re all very close.”

‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Enters Season 23 With Show This Fall

“Law & Order: SVU” has kept on going as these changes have happened. Hargitay will enter her 23rd season as Benson this fall when “SVU” starts up on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Central.

Obviously, “SVU” fans saw Meloni return to the “Law & Order” franchise world last season. He’s still playing Stabler but this time it’s on “Law & Order: Organized Crime.” That show’s second season kicks off right after “SVU” on Thursdays at 10 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. Central.

While we’re talking about both shows, Outsiders, you should know that Hargitay and Meloni have been filming “crossover” scenes. Yes, it might be Stabler popping up on “SVU” or Benson appearing on “Organized Crime.” Which show will it be?

“Law & Order: SVU” will have Hargitay in her role, which she’s held since the first season. The second longest-tenured star on that show is Ice-T, who has played Odafin “Fin” Tutuola since the second season.

Ice-T Had Meloni’s Back When Star Walked Away From Show

One person who supported Meloni leaving “Law & Order: SVU” was Ice-T. No, it wasn’t around Ice-T wanting the spotlight more than Meloni.

Let’s let Ice-T speak for himself as he did with Hollywood Life.

“Fin’s cool with it,” Ice-T said. “People say, oh, you and Stabler went at each other. I’m like, that was 15 years ago. Of course, in the writing, they’ll say, okay, you guys push up against each other.

“But I think they did that just to let people know that Fin wasn’t going to back down,” the “Law & Order: SVU” said. “They were building my character, not so much that I hated Chris, but they just wanted to see somebody that wouldn’t back off. Story-wise when you see the show [this season], you’re going to see I talked to Stabler first. Stabler’s actually been contacting me, so you’ll see how it plays out.”