LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT: What Did You Think of Stabler’s Storyline?

September 21, 2011 by  

[Warning: if you haven't seen the season 13 premiere of LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, turn away now. The following post includes spoilers on a key element of the hour and you won't want to have it ruined.]

Are we all good?

While it was no secret original series star Chris Meloni (Elliot Stabler) wouldn’t be returning to LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT for its 13th year, the exact specifics of how he’d be written off — and what impact that would have on the squad he’d leave behind — was a bit up in the air.

In tonight’s season premiere, we returned to Elliot on leave from his job after the shooting that ended the last season, with him having to jump through significant hoops if he wants to return to the 1-6. He was avoiding Olivia’s calls and by the end of the hour, Cragen tells her that Elliot has turned in his papers. She puts on a brave face, but she steals a few minutes away in an interrogation room and breaks down.

I really don’t have a problem with Elliot quitting. I understand this is most certainly not the direction the show would have gone in had Meloni continued on, but that was nothing they had control over. I completely get the powers that be at SVU worked with the hand they were dealt to the best of their capabilities. And I am incredibly thankful they didn’t kill Stabler off, because that could have been the “easier” option.

However…I have a slight problem with how the show handled Olivia finding out about Elliot’s resignation. I don’t have a problem with Elliot avoiding her at first, because while these two were partners for more than 12 years, their truly serious on-screen conversations were few and far between. But these two were literally willing to die for each other, placed each others’ lives above those of civilians and had previously been warned about being too codependent on each other. Yet when it’s time to sever the connection, he can’t pick up a phone or even text her to tell her when he makes his decision that will significantly impact her day-to-day life? When I saw Olivia break down right before she was about to go out on the street to do her job, my first thought was that if we didn’t know Mariska Hargitay (Olivia) was signed on for the entire season, I’d be concerned she was going to seriously get herself hurt.

Given that Elliot and Olivia weren’t in a terrible place when the season ended, it just doesn’t make sense that he would give no thought to what this could do to her and how this might place her in jeopardy. By Elliot leaving it up to Cragen to tell Olivia this arguably life-changing news, it ended his arc on the show (at least for now) on a sour note.

Do you agree? Or did you like the way Elliot was written off?

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Filed under #1 featured, Law & Order, SVU

Comments

11 Responses to “LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT: What Did You Think of Stabler’s Storyline?”

  1. ConnorBehan on September 22nd, 2011 3:06 am

    Killing Stabler off would have been jumping over a million sharks. Making a story where Elliot gets “kicked out by IAB” would be bad as well. It would turn this into “yet another Tucker up Elliot’s ass” story and who isn’t sick of those? Having Elliot leave and make no effort to come back shows that the life he took had a big effect on him. To me that absolutely sounds like a reason for him to leave Olivia hanging.

    While I liked Stabler’s exit, the rest of the episode had me worried. Introducing Rollins, welcoming back Cabot and trying a high profile rape case with a media circus seemed like too many random things for one episode. I guess I should just be thankful that they didn’t bring Amaro and Novak in as well.

  2. Susan Law on September 22nd, 2011 11:45 am

    I liked the premier episode. I’d wondered how it would all work without Stabler’s character, but to my surprise, everything seemed to flow more smoothly. The story line was plausible (duh – it was as much reporting as fiction.) The acting was great – ADA Cabot has matured, Benson was solid despite her grief at the loss of her partner, and Cragan’s office is beautiful (when did that happen?) We got a good look at one of the new characters – played by Kelli Giddish – how will she fit in, one wonders.

    As for how Olivia Benson learns of Stabler’s resignation – I thought it was completely in keeping with his tendency to handle very emotional situations very badly.

  3. linda alvarez on September 23rd, 2011 11:04 pm

    I was very disappointed. That was a cheap, thoughtless ending on the part of the writers. They could have had a dramatic, insightful and climactic episode where Benson and Stabler actually talk about the impact that the job has on their psyches and lives. It could have included the tension of “will he or won’t he” retire? No, he and Benson share the deepest, most pious relationship in their lives; he would NOT have made that decision without agonizing over the decision without Benson. They’ve shared life, death, horror and a long term relationship with each others’ families, even. Cheap, writers! Shame on you for taking this insipid lazy way out. I expected so much more of you.

  4. kendall conduff on September 25th, 2011 11:35 am

    I think it is ruinging the show by taking stabler off. He was one of the good actors and good looking men on the show he played his part well I feel sad I probably won’t watch it again

  5. SamovarK on September 28th, 2011 9:30 pm

    I’m a little behind on the series, and was stunned tonight to hear Stabler is gone.

    Is NBC crazy? I don’t care what the man wanted, GIVE IT to him! The chemistry between him and Olivia made the show. His character was complex and rich, and always stood for the right. I hope they come to their senses and get him back on there. He is a character too good to lose.

  6. Marly on September 29th, 2011 12:09 am

    I agree with Linda Alvarez’s comments.

    Furthermore, I do believe that SVU needs to bring Elliot back in one of the season’s episodes, maybe the final, to do what should have been done initially. The fans deserve a REALISTIC culmination.

  7. Ilsa on December 17th, 2011 8:13 pm

    I believe that Episode where Olivia is given the news about Elliot was painful. Not just for her but to all the viewers. Those tears were real, not just a scene. I’m glad he wasn’t killed. His resignation gave me hope that he’ll return. I feel his character is not killed off. Besides, what’s going to happen to his family? Are they going to be killed off too? He’s not the type to leave them.

    Hearing that Olivia will be leaving also, is going to be another downfall. Law & Order is going to receive even lower ratings.

    Law and Order was always to the point with Stabler and Benson. The stories were never boring. If you’d wanted something in the kitchen, one always waited til the commercial. Then they would hurry not to miss the rest.

    If the Production Co. refuses to give an increase to Christopher and Mariska, they’re wrong. We as the vieweres, are the ones who have been keeping the show alive. If it wasn’t for us, the producers etc. would be out of a job. We are the customers. If we don’t watch, you don’t get paid! Think about it!

  8. Lori on July 14th, 2012 1:04 pm

    Im deeply sad over this, honestly. We have followed these characters for 13 years. They may be fiction and entertainment, but i think it gets forgotten that they have emotional ties with people too. Thats what makes them great. To see Stabler just leave with no goodby to Olivia is just wrong. Their characters deserve more. Even if Meloni had to leave okay but Olivia and he have that bond, the bond we have been watching for years! Everyone has to make their choice to move on and thats life. But I just wish that everyone could have got closure after all this time, for the characters and the viewers who loyally watched them grow and love them. I would have rather them ended the series i believe with them together, if he had to leave. They didnt have to get married but to feel like they will never see each other again just feels awful. I guess like others deep down i have been telling myself that in the end “the last of all” episodes they would be together, in work, in life and in love.

  9. Jeff on August 8th, 2012 11:31 am

    Truth be told, Christopher Meloni wanted too much money to remain and he chose to be written out. Marisaka has signed on for another couple seasons so all will be fine. What’s truly disappointing is meloni’s comments the past few months (which he tweeted) about how the “past 5 seasons on the show were miserable for him”. If that’s how he felt then I say good riddance and good luck finding your next long term gig. Danny Pino will be fine and was always great on Cold Case.

  10. Trina on January 17th, 2013 11:09 am

    im glad elliot didnt get killed of the show..i just want to know did liv and el have a thing. but i pray hope that elliot comes back to the show..

  11. Taryn Geissler on October 10th, 2013 2:21 am

    I thought Elliots departure was poorly done, and very unrealistic. I mean come on thread to Were best friends after all they have been through there is no way Elliot would just leave without talking to Liv! Another thing. I haven’t watched the show sense Elliot left but I saw Were something bad happens to Liv recently, and there is no way Elliot wouldn’t have busted down walls to see her and make sure she was ok! There I have said my peace. Lol :)

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