FROM GOOD COP TO THE WORST SORT OF CONVICT, THIS GUY'S GOT KILLER RANGE.
AS AN ACTOR, CHRIS MELONI HAS PRETTY MUCH DONE IT ALL.
He's saved lives, he's arrested bad guys, and he's helped solve one of the nation's most notorious murder mysteries. He's also snapped more than his share of necks, and he broke them all with a smile on his face. Fortunately for Meloni's friends and family, these experiences haven't warped him off-screen.
At least that's how Meloni sees it as he weaves his motorcycle through Manhattan traffic and handles a phone interview during his day off from NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which co-stars Richard Belzer, Ice-T, and Mariska Hargitay.
He laughs about the confusion over his on-screen persona. "I did kill a lot of people," says Meloni of his portrayal of inmate Chris Keller on the HBO prison drama Oz.
"People didn't know what I was," Meloni says. "Some people thought I was really like that character [Oz's Keller]. Others knew me better and recognized that I was a pretty decent guy."
Meloni's current role as Detective Elliot Stabler on SVU, one of the more popular Law & Orderspin-offs, has squelched any questions concerning his personal life.
"I like Elliot," Meloni says. "He's tough, but he's got a soft side to him. He loves his family and has concern for the people he works with, but he'll kick ass when he needs to. How can you not like a guy like that?"
Due in part to his success on SVU, Meloni landed the plum part of former Los Angeles Detective Mark Fuhrman in the made-for-TV movie A Murder in Greenwich. The movie focuses on the gruesome bludgeoningof 15-year-old Martha Moxley in 1975 and the subsequent attempts to nail down her killer. Twenty-five years after the fact, a jury convicted Michael Skakel, a relative of the Kennedy family, of the brutal crime.
Says Meloni of the case, "It was an intriguing story more than anything else."
This recurring series of dark storylines recently led Meloni to seek something lighter - a stint on the medical comedy Scrubs.
Despite his tough guy reputation, he welcomes the change of pace.
Says Meloni, "I love comedy. It's always great to make people laugh, and after being on Ozand SVU, I needed to lighten the mood"
Chris Meloni is one of those cool guys you want to just hang out with. We've talked a few times since these interviews and he's always asking about my sons and is just down to earth. He is someone I hope to catch a Yankee game with one day or maybe go fishing out on Lake Zoar in our home state of Connecticut.