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Not All Law & Order: SVU Fans Are Fond Of Stabler (& It Shows)

Aside from Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), there's no bigger name in the "Law & Order" franchise than Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). Since making his debut in the very first episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Stabler has become a legend in the crime procedural world. Sure, he doesn't always make the right call, he can let his emotions get the best of him, and he did bow out of the "Law & Order" spotlight for a few years, but all of that has done little to harm his icon status.

With that said, some fans aren't too keen on Stabler. Over on Reddit, a thread by u/iloveiguanas874 asked why folks don't like Stabler, and those who don't care for him came out in full force. "It's the police brutality for me, also his prejudices, and he's mean to his children," commented u/5-9_hack, while u/smallsloth1320 feels that since he has returned to become the lead of "Law & Order: Organized Crime," he's lost all emotion and personality outside of his anger. "I don't personally like him simply because in my opinion, he's basically everything a police officer shouldn't be," added u/Acacia-Dragoon.

These critiques are certainly valid and everyone is entitled to their feelings on Stabler — including Christopher Meloni himself, who, naturally, has a much different outlook on the character than fans.

Christopher Meloni looks at Stabler much differently

It's one thing to have spent the past two decades with Elliot Stabler as a fan, but for the actor behind him, it's a much different story. Christopher Meloni has spent more time with the character than anyone, meticulously crafting everything about him to the best of his ability. Therefore, as one would imagine, his perspective on Stabler differs greatly compared to those of the viewing public. Especially as he explores a more worn, hardened Stabler on "Organized Crime," Meloni has deviated even further from fan consensus.

"An older guy flying off the handle all the time? It's not so attractive. I thought a lot about that for Stabler, and now we're getting to some of his issues, which is good. Let's investigate all of this," Meloni told The Wall Street Journal. He's well aware of Stabler's shortcomings — particularly his temper — but where fans may see a lost cause, Meloni sees someone who's a work in progress. Additionally, he gives Stabler a bit of leeway when it comes to his now-unacceptable habits on the job, explaining, "He has been out of America, and when he comes back, there's room for him to be a little bit shocked by how things have changed."

No matter where you stand on Elliot Stabler, one thing remains true: without him and Olivia Benson, "Law & Order" as a whole likely wouldn't be where it is today.