What season did Stabler leave Law and Order SVU?

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Elliot Stabler (played by Christopher Meloni) was the first partner of Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) who is now the Commanding Officer in Law and Order SVU. Many fans found it difficult to adjust to the NBC series without Stabler as he had such a key role in making the show a success. What made it even more difficult for some viewers was how he left the drama.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Law and Order SVU.

Stabler and Benson were the iconic duo that put Law and Order SVU on the map.

While Benson was the calmer of the two, Stabler was definitely the hothead and at times, very temperamental.

But as fans know, he had a good heart and often reacted badly during cases where there were child victims involved.

Unfortunately, it was the tormented soul of a youngster which led to him leaving the show for good.

What season did Stabler leave Law and Order SVU?

Stabler was the co-star in the drama for the first 12 seasons but everything changed in the series finale Smoked.

Three men were arrested for the murder of a rape victim and were temporarily being held at the precinct.

But as they waited to be transferred, the victim’s daughter Jenna Fox (Hayley McFarland) appeared and opened fire on the men.

She accidentally shot at Sister Peg (Charlayne Woodard) which is when Stabler was forced to shoot Jenna.

The teenager died in Stabler’s arms, leaving the detective devastated by the entire incident.

This was the last time that Stabler was seen in Law and Order SVU.

The beloved character got an off-screen exit during the season 13 premiere.

He was on administrative leave because of what happened and Benson insisted that he needed a psychiatric evaluation before returning to the job.

Sadly, he refused the help he needed and instead retired from the NYPD.

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Much to the delight of fans, actor Christopher Meloni did make a comeback.

He appeared in season 22, episode nine, Return of the Prodigal Son, earlier this year.

Stabler hadn’t been seen with Benson onscreen for more than a decade.

But he returned as the episode acted as a backdoor pilot for Law and Order: Organised Crime where Stabler is working for another unit of the NYPD.

Law and Order SVU will be back next month for another thrilling season on NBC.

The network confirmed that the show would be premiering its 23rd series on Thursday, September 23.

This will be just short of four months since the finale of season 22 aired.

Law and Order SVU is available to watch on NBC.

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