Two actors, both who inhabited the world of Dick Wolf produced shows, have been in the business for 30 plus years. It's time to get them in a show together.
It's sad to think the paths of detectives Olinsky and Stabler never crossed paths. If they had, it might have been the best hour of television in the history of the medium developed by Philo Farnsworth.
In case you're not familiar with either -- or one -- of these characters, let's cover the basics. Alvin Olinsky, humbly played by Elias Koteas, appeared on the first five seasons of Chicago P.D. Soft-spoken, full of wisdom, stoic, and intense when needed, Olinsky was a throwback cop, sometimes with an unorthodox way of contributing to a case.
Elliot Stabler, portrayed by Christopher Meloni, might be the more recognizable of the two. For 12 seasons, he was part of the Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler team that helped put away the scumbags in the Law and Order: SVU universe.
The Dick Wolf produced dramas of Chicago P.D. and SVU have had a couple of crossover events in the past six years, but by that time Meloni had already left SVU. And even the character of Olinsky (*spoiler alert ahead*) was...
...killed off towards the end of season 5 on Chicago P.D.
A golden opportunity was missed as the two actors passed like ships in the night. This missed opportunity could be easily rectified by placing Meloni and Koteas in a show together.
Olinsky. Stabler. Detectives at large. This fall on NBC.
The careers of Meloni and Koteas
These two actors have been on the radar and worked steadily for roughly the past thirty years. Both have been underappreciated in some regards, in not only their dramatic acting but with their comedic chops as well.
Koteas and Meloni were born within a month of each other back in 1961 and both began their acting careers in the late 1980's. In fact, over time, the two have often been confused for one other in the various projects they have participated in. (I, for one, thought it was Koteas in Wet Hot American Summer the first time I saw it.)
In Chicago P.D. and SVU, the subject matter tends not to lend itself much to comedy, understandably. These are formulaic crime dramas, one in which cases are often wrapped up in the span of an hour. Still, both Koteas and Meloni handled the material well, giving performances that rivaled performances often reserved for HBO, AMC, Netflix, and the rest.
Meloni's career began with small parts in television movies, eventually moving on to parts in television shows like Dinosaurs (voiced Spike for 11 episodes) and a four-episode arc on NYPD Blue.
In 1999, he landed the role as Stabler on Law and Order: SVU, appearing in 272 episodes until his exit from the show in 2011. During that time, he also appeared on the critically-acclaimed Oz.
Most recently, Meloni appeared on The Handmaid's Tale.
His comedic side also shined bright over the years. He appeared in Wet Hot American Summer and its follow-up series' on Netflix. Meloni also did three seasons of the show Happy! and was in two of the Harold and Kumar movies. (White Castle and Guantanamo Bay.)
It was here Meloni and Koteas share something else in common, as Koteas played Sergei in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
Koteas, who also had small roles in television and movies at the start of his career, arrived on a grand scale in 1990, playing Casey Jones in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. He was would later reprise the role in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
Over the years, Koteas has had roles in such films as The Prophecy, The Thin Red Line, Shutter Island, and Zodiac.
Getting two stalwarts like Koteas and Meloni together on a project would make for intriguing television. The mix of dry humor, the long, disgruntled looks at one another and the fighting crime would indeed be riveting.
Perhaps a show where they play detectives at a flailing crime agency. And it's set in the 1930's.
Or it doesn't have to be cop-related. Maybe they play a couple of retired guys who open a bar on the beaches of Hawaii. After their highly decorated careers -- both real and fictional -- the two have them have certainly earned it.
Meloni. Koteas. Drinks for two. Coming soon.
photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org