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The True Blood Character You Likely Forgot Christopher Meloni Played

It's easy to think of actor Christopher Meloni mainly as his most famous character, Detective Elliot Stabler, first on "Law & Order: SVU" and later "Law & Order: Organized Crime." However, Meloni has been working for several decades, making his first on-screen appearance on a 1988 episode of "The Equalizer" (via IMDb). Describing himself as a "working actor," he once told Esquire, "I don't think I can be accused of being inauthentic."

This is a serious understatement. Meloni has played a wide variety of weird, funny, and outright deranged characters in film and on television, and none of them can be called insincere. He was a loose cannon Mafia scion in "Bound," talked to a sentient can of corn in "Wet Hot American Summer," and actually urinated on camera for the HBO prison drama "Oz" (via Esquire). 

With nearly 100 acting credits on IMDb, the actor is extremely prolific, even with his definitive a role as Detective Stabler. However, did you forget about his larger-than-life role on "True Blood" too?

Meloni became an ancient vampire on True Blood

Christopher Meloni had played a sociopathic murderer for HBO before while on the show "Oz." Yet, his character on their hit vampire series "True Blood" was a very different kind of monster. After leaving "Law & Order: SVU" in 2011 (per The Hollywood Reporter), Meloni joined "True Blood" Season 5 as Roman Zimojic, the head of the Vampire Authority, who wants peace between humans and the undead.

Roman is not just an ageless vamp. He's also centuries-old, self-righteous, and ruthless towards anyone who opposes his beliefs. Meloni commented to The Hollywood Reporter that the character has an "unbending drive to get what he wants" but is also childish as a result: "I thought that was what [sic] kind of funny about it. Here you have this very impressive entity, yet underneath it all, he's a big old baby."

The leader of the Authority only appears in five episodes but drives much of the season's conflict as he searches for Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) and pursues the "mainstreaming" of the vampire race regardless of the cost. This includes killing his friend Alexander (Jacob Hopkins) and eventually capturing Russell. However, Russell uses a malfunctioning iStake to kill Roman in "Hopeless," ending the long-living vampire's life and Meloni's run on the show.