LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT: What Did You Think of Stabler’s Storyline?
September 21, 2011 by Marisa Roffman
[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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