Law & Order has produced some iconic TV characters. Jerry Orbach's Lennie Briscoe set the standard as the alcoholic detective so obsessed with his job that his closeness to his own family could only be measured in lightyears. John Munch, played by comedian Richard Belzer, was a wry conspiracy theorist who retired after decades as a homicide detective in Baltimore so he could spend his golden years relaxing the only way retirees know how: investigating rapes in New York. Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler from SVU was probably the most captivating of them all. That's probably why NBC announced that they're giving Stabler his own spinoff series where he'll be taking on organized crime. That's great news for fans of good TV and terrible news for the citizens of Law and Order's New York because Elliot Stabler is fucking crazy and should have had his badge revoked years ago.
Elliot Stabler is so crazy that the USA network has run two Stabler-centric Law and Order marathons that they've cheekily dubbed "Un-Stabler" marathons. They're nothing but episodes that, when strung together, form the world's longest montage of suspects being spit in the face and slammed against walls. Stabler is the archetypal rebel cop who does things his own way and isn't afraid to trample civil rights as long as it means he gets to punch a guy who may or may not have committed a crime.
His unhinged behavior was so common that it's made him one of those TV characters whose many quirks have been complied into multiple YouTube montages. Just instead of hysterical catchphrases, it's several clips of a police detective asking a suspect if feel like a bitch yet.
Stabler is one viral video away from either never having a job again or being suspended then quietly promoted to chief of police so he can finally implement his Stop & Sucker Punch Anyone Who Looks At You Funny initiative. He's a relic of an older era of cop dramas entering an age when power-hungry police officers are being constantly caught on video committing atrocious crimes against citizens with little to no provocation.
The core problem is that Meloni is a hugely underrated actor who specializes in playing sympathetic anti-heroes who are untethered from sanity and morality. His recently canceled series Happy! (where he played a hitman who sees his daughter's imaginary friend after suffering a head injury) was just as good an example of that as his role as the fridge-humping camp chef in Wet Hot American Summer. Just because they're relatable psychos doesn't mean they should be cops, let alone running their own taskforce -- but it's going to make for some good TV.
Top image: NBC/Universal
Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com and his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. And now you can listen to the first episode on Youtube!