What happened to Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU? Is he returning on SVU Season 20?

Caption : Christopher Meloni

Elliot Stabler is a former character of the NBC legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victim Units. The character was portrayed by actor Christopher Meloni for 12 seasons, from 1999 to 2011. Christopher's exit came as a major shock to his fans, leaving them without a closure. But why did Christopher actually leave Law & Order: SVU? Will he return to the show in future? 

Why did Detective Stabler leave Law & Order: SVU?

Detective Stabler debuted on SVU on September 20, 1999, when the show first premiered on NBC. He made his last appearance on May 18, 2011, on the final episode of season 12.

In the season 12 finale, Stabler shot and killed a woman, who had killed two people. The kill was deemed as justifiable self-defense but it still got Stabler in trouble as it was his sixth on-the-job shooting. This led IAB to open an investigation on Stabler, placing him on administrative leave barring a psychiatric profile. 

Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler

Stabler was never seen in person on screen after this as Season 13 started with his off-screen resignation. His last words were quoted as "tell IAB to go to hell." Fans criticized this as an ill-fitting send off to a character who has served the show for such a long time. 

It was later revealed that Meloni's exit was a result of an unsuccessful contract negotiation. SVU is currently running in its 20th season, which is scheduled to end on January 31, 209. The show has not shared any words on Stabler's possible return so far. 

What is Christopher Meloni doing now?

In 2012, Meloni landed the role of Roman Zimojic in the HBO series, True Blood. In 2014, he appeared as Jack Dunlevy on Surviving Jack and as Gene Jenkinson on Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp in the following year. In 2016, he appeared as August Pullman in Underground, a TV show which also marked his directorial debut. Meloni directed an episode of Underground called Auld Acquaintance. 

Christopher Meloni promoting his new series Happy!

In 2017, he reprised his role as Jenkinson on Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. In 2017, he also landed the lead role as Nick Sax in Happy!. The Syfy network series, which premiered in December 2017, has been renewed for a second season. Happy! Season 2 is scheduled to premiere around Easter 2019. 

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