Christopher Meloni Says a Contract Dispute Led to Law & Order SVU Departure

at .

Christopher Meloni's return to the Law & Order franchise a decade after he left took many fans by surprise.

He didn't leave on the best of terms, exiting Law & Order: SVU due to a contract dispute, which, in turn, left fans wondering what became of Elliot Stabler.

Meloni opened up about his controversial exit in a new interview with People Magazine.

A Tense Scene - Law & Order: SVU

“For me, it was about how things fell out — and the word I’ll use is that it was inelegant,” Meloni revealed.

“At the end of the day, how it was handled was, ‘Okay, see you later.’ So I went, ‘That’s fine. We’re all big boys and girls here. See you later.’ And I was off on new adventures and doing what I wanted to do.”

The good news is that Meloni and co-star Mariska Hargitay remained connected during the 10 years he was away from the franchise.

Irreplaceable Character - Law & Order: SVU

Thankfully, they will be reunited on-screen later this year when Law & Order: Organized Crime debuts.

The series will follow Elliot Stabler, who returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss.

However, the city and police department have changed dramatically in the decade he's been away, and he must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning.

Throughout the series, we will follow Stabler's journey to find absolution and rebuild his life while leading a new elite task force that is taking apart the city's most powerful criminal syndicates one by one.

Chris Meloni attends WGN Event

Given that there was no on-screen goodbye between Benson and Elliot, there are a lot of unanswered questions.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions about how he left, why the silence vis-à-vis Olivia Benson," Christopher revealed on The Talk last summer.

"I think, in real terms, society, and what we are dealing with in society, has changed dramatically. So, I think you have to address that. And, I think the person Elliot was, I think we all evolve. I think all those things are going to be put into play."

Law & Order: SVU will remain in the 9/8c time-period, but its Christopher Meloni-led spinoff, Organized Crime, will launch April 1, in the 10/9c slot.

Getting Closure/Tall - Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 8

This night also marks a crossover between the two shows, so fans will have many Elliot-Olivia scenes to look forward to.

The supporting cast includes Tamara Taylor and Dylan McDermott.

What are your thoughts on the news?

Hit the comments below.

Remember, you can watch Law & Order: SVU online right here via TV Fanatic.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

Show Comments
Tags: , ,

Law & Order: SVU Quotes

Sonny: Why didn't you call the police?
Woman: Lots of lights were on. I figured someone had called already.

This guy has a pager, knows how to make his victims pass out - what are we looking for? A doctor?