Can I admit something about Christopher Meloni? I loved him to pieces as Det. Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU, but I’m not into L&O: Organized Crime at all. I stopped watching SVU around the time Meloni left, and in the space of, what? A decade, the whole energy in and around the L&O universe changed so much. Maybe I should give it another shot but I was really turned off by what they were doing, especially with the repeated mentions of “antifa” as somehow responsible for a massive crime wave. That being said, I still support Meloni, just like I’ll always support Mariska Hargitay. Meloni has really leaned into his L&O comeback, as this People Magazine cover story indicates. He’s embraced the life of a TV star and zaddy. Some highlights from People:
His comeback as a sex symbol: “It’s a second act to a certain degree,” he tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. And it’s one he’s certainly enjoying. “It’s a gas. It’s fun. I don’t know, has anyone else been crowned Zaddy? Once it’s bestowed upon you, you have to just ride that horse as long as you can.”
His wife of 27 years: “My wife, she’s lovely, she gets it. Meaning she’s like, ‘Eh, whatever.’ My kids, on the other hand, invariably once a month, it’s ‘Really? Really?’ Their friends will send them a meme that’s come out or whatever. But I think secretly in their hearts, they get it. It’s cool, because we all have a good goof with it. My children’s friends bust my chops, but it’s all fun. It’s an honor.”
Coming back to the L&O franchise after a decade away: “Age is a wondrous thing. You hope that with time you get a little wiser, get a little more patient and really come from a place of more maturity, which I translate to clarity and love. And by love, it’s not kumbaya, but a sense we’re all in this together, we’re all doing the best we can. It’s a more refined way to operate.”
He’s chilled out: “Really just having an attitude of enjoying the ride. It’s great. Are you kidding me? I’m 61-years-old and a zaddy. The lucky streak continues.”
It was so dumb for producers to let him leave over contract renegotiations – he was the co-lead of one of NBC’s best franchises. At least they kept Mariska, I guess. With Meloni’s comeback – and the stand-alone success of Law & Order: Organized Crime – NBC is leaning into their Law & Order franchises again. The original Law & Order has come back this year after a 12-year hiatus too. Anyway, Meloni has chilled out a lot and I’m glad he’s embracing this second run at a network show.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, Instar, cover courtesy of People.