Gene In Wet Hot American Summer & 9 Other Forgotten Christopher Meloni Roles


Most of the world knows Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler from the hit NBC series Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit. After appearing on the series for its first 12 seasons, he has mostly been typecast as the straight-laced NYPD police officer with a trigger temper. He was so popular that NBC signed him to return for his own spinoff coming in 2021.

RELATED: Law & Order: SVU — 5 Times We Loved Elliot Stabler (& 5 Times We Hated Him)

However, the Law & Order: SVU role is not the norm for Meloni. He has played a police officer before, but he has also played some bizarre off-the-wall characters in many other movies and TV shows, and these are roles that would make his dedicated fans who only know him as Stabler head’s spin.

10 Gene In Wet Hot American Summer

Gene In Wet Hot American Summer


For a perfect example of how Christopher Meloni is not always who he appears to be on Law & Order: SVU, take a look at his role as Gene from the comedy Wet Hot American Summer.

Instead of being a straight-laced cop, he is a chef at a summer camp, a Vietnam vet with PTSD who talks to a can of mixed vegetables (voiced by Archer voice actor H. Jon Benjamin). He is scary and off-the-wall and was able to help save the day.

9 Lt. Halperin In 12 Monkeys

Lt. Halperin In 12 Monkeys

Of course, there were also movie roles that Christopher Meloni took on before he ever stepped into the Law & Order: SVU role. One of these came in the 1995 Terry Gilliam sci-fi movie 12 Monkeys.

This was only Meloni’s third movie role, and he played a police detective named Halperin, who was working the case concerning Bruce Willis’s Cole, a man who was sent back in time to find out what caused a global catastrophe.

8 Sven In Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

Sven In Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

The year after Christopher Meloni played a cop in 12 Monkeys, he took on a very different role in another Terry Gilliam movie, this one based on the Hunter S. Thompson novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

In this movie, Johnny Depp plays Thompson as he goes to Las Vegas to cover a desert race but explores the city while under the influence. Meloni played the character of Sven, the flamboyant hotel clerk at the Flamingo Hotel.

7 Freakshow In Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle

Freakshow In Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle

If fans thought Gene was strange in Wet Hot American Summer, they hadn’t seen anything yet. Five years into his role as Detective Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU, Meloni shocked his fans when he took on the role of Freakshow in the stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

RELATED: Law & Order SVU: 10 Guest Stars Who Went On To Have Major Roles

Freakshow is a truck driver covered in oozing boils who take them to his home after they crash their car. As he prepared to repair their car, Freakshow’s wife (Malin Akerman) propositioned Harold and Kumar, which excited them until Freakshow wanted to get involved as well.

6 Chris Keller In Oz

Chris Keller In Oz

While most television fans were introduced to Christopher Meloni thanks to Law & Order: SVU, it was not his first television starring role. Before he became a police detective, he was a prisoner in the HBO drama series Oz.

In the series, he played Chris Keller, a recurring character for five seasons. He was a bisexual serial killer who might be the most deranged and amoral character in the entire series. His character was the exact type that Stabler hated the most on SVU.

5 Jack Willis In Nights In Rodanthe

Jack Willis In Nights In Rodanthe

Nicholas Sparks is an author who specializes in writing novels that seldom have a happy ending, and his work has been brought to the big screen several times over the years. In 2008, his novel Nights in Rodanthe was released.

It starred two top older actors in Richard Gere and Diane Lane as they meet at an inn and develop a relationship. Meloni also starred in the movie as Lane’s estranged husband, who left her for another woman.

4 Col. Nathan Hardy In Man Of Steel

Col. Nathan Hardy In Man Of Steel

Christopher Meloni has also been in a superhero movie, as he took a role in one of the first DC Extended Universe (DCEU) movies in Man of Steel. This was the first appearance of Superman in the new expanded universe, and Meloni took the role of a military man, not stepping too far outside the wheelhouse he developed as Stabler.

RELATED: Ranked: Every Law & Order Series

Meloni starred as Col. Nathan Hardy. In the movie, he was a U.S. Air Force Officer with the call sign Guardian. He led the defense against the alien invasion of Smallville and was actually one of the heroes in the Battle of Metropolis later in the movie.

3 Roman Zimojic In True Blood

Roman Zimojic In True Blood

The year after Christopher Meloni left Law & Order: SVU, he returned to HBO. This time, he took on a role in Alan Ball’s Southern Vampires series True Blood, based on the books by Charlaine Harris.

He only appeared in five episodes, but he played a major role in Season 5. Meloni played Roman Zimojic, the Guardian and leader of the Vampire Authority, which made him the supreme leader of all vampires on Earth.

2 Mort In Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

Mort In Sin City A Dame To Kill For

In 2014, Christopher Meloni joined the cast of the sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. While not as critically acclaimed as the first Sin City movie, the cast in this movie was top-notch, including Meloni as Mort.

Much like Law & Order: SVU, where Meloni played a good cop to the end, in this movie, he was one of the only good cops in the Basic City Police Department — until he met the femme fatale, Ava (Eva Green).

1 Nick Sax In Happy!

Nick Sax In Happy

In 2017, Christopher Meloni went completely off the rails in the SyFy series Happy!, based on the comic books by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson. In this series, Meloni is a former police officer who has been disgraced and is now a social outcast, drowning in his vices.

However, after suffering a heart attack, he begins to see a small, blue-winged unicorn named Happy, who helps him solve cases and get his life back together.

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Updated: November 26, 2020 — 3:30 pm

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