This Thursday, Christopher Meloni returns to television as the titular character in the half-hour Fox comedy “Surviving Jack.” And we couldn’t be happier. Why? Residual checks. But also, Thursday marks the culmination of a marathon that may not have gone past the starting line without Chris Meloni leading the pack.
He was everyone’s first choice for the role, hands down: an actor with a rare combination of likeability—the holy grail of casting—and shit-inducing scariness. The billboards read, in bold red block letters: “Putting the ‘F’ back in Fatherhood.” One need only recall a couple of shows in Chris’s past body of work to know he could put the “F” in just about anything. The guy thrived for several years of maximum-security lockup as sociopathic inmate Chris Keller on HBO’s prison drama “OZ,” and spent 12 seasons on NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU”(12 seasons!) cleaning scum off the streets of New York as Detective Elliot Stabler.
With a resume like that, an actor will surely garner a group of fans. But Meloni comes with a special army of devotees—self-proclaimed “Melonians”—whose appreciation for the star goes far beyond his acting chops.