‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ Star Christopher Meloni Reveals What He Told NBC After Leaving ‘SVU’

by Anna Dunn

Law & Order: SVU fans were heartbroken when Law & Order: Organized Crime star Chris Meloni left the show in 2011 due to a contract dispute with NBC. The show continued on without him and still does to this day, but now, Meloni is back on his own Law & Order show, Law & Order: Organized Crime, which has frequent crossover moments with SVU.

Meloni has remained relatively quiet about the contract dispute that lead to his departure from the leading role on the hit show, but in an interview with Men’s Health that was released today, Meloni opened up about the experience.

According to Men’s Health, Meloni told NBC “Well, if it’s this [amount of money] then this is the way to go around so you don’t have to pay [the money he was asking for].” But he didn’t throw in the towel right away. Instead of saying goodbye to the show immediately, Meloni proposed a workaround.

“My thought was: Instead of 22 episodes, bring me back for nine episodes, or bring me back for 18 episodes. They literally came to me on a Thursday night and said, ‘This is the deal. We want the answer by tomorrow. It’s our way or no way,’ ” this didn’t sit right with Meloni at all.

Meloni told NBC, “I don’t want to f*** around with you guys. This is what I want. If you can’t do it, that’s fine. Let’s figure out my exit.”

Chris Meloni is Back on the ‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ Set

Whatever bad blood Meloni had with the network was eventually squashed, as he is back with Law & Order: Organized Crime. Now, the show is finally shooting its second season, which promises about three times the episodes as the last. Last season was a shorter one due to COVID-19 restrictions. Season 2, however, will feature three intense eight-episode arcs all focusing on a main villain.

Still, the cast has been able to have some fun on set. Meloni has described being back on set for the first time like “the first day of school,” and Jet actor Ainsley Sieger made earrings out of the iconic photo of Meloni in a lime green tank top and hot pink pants. So even though they’re filming a serious show, there’s plenty of fun to be had when the cameras are off.

The show will see the return of many of the main actors from last season including Dylan Mcdermott, who played Richard Wheatley. While McDermott only signed a contract for one season initially, he re-signed for season 2.

Law & Order: Organized Crime and Law & Order: SVU will return on Thursday, September 23rd. It’s highly likely that fans will see the shows have plenty of crossover events this year, so you’ll probably get more Stabler and Benson reunions.