Another Law and Order series hasn’t been much of a surprise in recent years, but the return of Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler was the most anticipated event in Law and Order history when it came with the premier of Law and Order: Organized Crime. Organized Crime, currently in its third season, marked not only the return of Stabler but also the reason for his lack of appearances throughout the recent years of the franchise since his leave from Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Although the series didn’t mention the specific firing, the series instead linked his absence to being undercover, which also holds the premise of the Organized Crime series. Below, we’ve detailed Law and Order, Law and Order: Organized Crime, and the removal of Christopher Meloni and his eventual return to the franchise.
Christopher Meloni and Detective Eliott Stabler
Christopher Meloni first appeared on Law and Order with the premier of Special Victims Unit, as it was the newest Law and Order series at the time. Christopher Meloni co-starred with Mariska Hargitay as each other’s partners, Benson and Stabler, in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, until Meloni left the franchise after failed negotiations for increased pay, after an additional two-year contract. The relationship between the two detectives, which has only grown throughout the original 12-season run that the two had worked together, was abrupt throughout the story, leading to Meloni’s leave from Law and Order. Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay attempted to increase their upcoming contracts as they headed into the new season at the time, season eleven, with profits from additional episodes, but that never happened as the actors were informed they’d be replaced if they insisted further. As the two were denied the contracts they wanted, they each signed a two-year deal to continue their characters on the show, but following those deals, Meloni left the series while Hargitay stayed.
Law and Order
Before we dive into the newest addition to the Law and Order family, currently in its third season, let’s cover the other series and characters within the Law and Order franchise and the shows within it. Law and Order originally started with the simple title of Law and Order to dive into each side of the justice system, the arresting officers and their pursuit for justice, into the crimes of the accused brought through to a courtroom with lawyers, jury, and judge. The original series, Law and Order, was on from its premiere in 1990 for 20 seasons until 2010. It was revived with familiar faces from the still-running Law and Order spinoffs and the original run of Law and Order in 2021 after an eleven-year hiatus. Other Law and Order series developed within the franchise since the first debuted include the earlier-mentioned Special Victims Unit, Criminal Intent, LA, True Crime, Trial By Jury, and the newest entry in the Law and Order franchise, Organized Crime. With the massive hits that have been most Law and Order series, there have also been failures in the form of canceled series.
Law and Order: Organized Crime
Law and Order: Organized Crime started following the reintroduction of Stabler following his wife’s death and his pursuit of catching the killer that was aiming for him, but also introduced other characters, one of which was first-time television actress Ainsley Seiger. Stabler was brought back into the Law and Order franchise in SVU, but his true pursuit of those responsible was showcased in the first season of Law and Order: Organized Crime. Unlike most Law and Order shows, Organized Crime has had season-long story arcs where the issues introduced at the beginning are slowly resolved until an ultimate conclusion is reached at the end of the season. The first season of Law and Order: Organized Crime saw Elliot Stabler going after the man responsible for the car bombing that killed his wife, Richard Wheatley, portrayed by Dylan McDermott, an influential businessman with family mob connections. Organized Crime’s second season featured a more undercover mindset as Elliot Stabler was informed of a group of crooked cops and quickly joined their ranks to take them down from the inside after taking some deep, personal connections with some of the group. Ultimately, this undercover job led to the death of a crooked cop and leader of The Brotherhood, naming his child after Elliot, before committing suicide before he could be arrested or charged with his crimes. Season three of Organized Crime has only reached a potential halfway point, or a third of the way, depending on the final episode count for the season, as the first season premiered with eight episodes, while season two was graced with a much more considerable amount of twenty-two, a more traditional Law and Order episode count, and season three has premiered nine episodes so far with a return tenth episode slated for January 4th, as most series are currently on break for the Christmas season.
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