Here we'll look at Elliot as a man, plain and simple. This includes his character traits, appearance and so on. If you're interested in other important aspects of the character, you'll find them in the detective
, family man
Keep in mind since those three things are such an important part of who Elliot is, they will likely be discussed here, just not in full detail.
Having had a cop father and being an ex-Marine, it's no wonder Elliot Stabler ended up being one of New York's finest. He is a hardened man, stern and focused and almost always having an intense look on his face. While he may not smile or appear happy very much, Elliot is not made of stone.
When he is with his family we can definitely see that caring and protective side of him - the father, the husband. He tends to be quite gentle and understanding
with very young victims. When Elliot does smile, it can be either good or bad. He has his warm, happy-for-an-innocent-reason smile (like when he is playing with his kids), and he has his you're-screwed smile, which is reserved for when the bad guys get caught.
He is a man whose job defines him, but since Elliot is out there every day fighting for justice to be served, I wouldn't say that's a bad thing.
This is the shallow section. ;) We all know how important a character's looks are to their personality, right? /sarcasm. Even though I'm someone who doesn't believe that the way someone appears is important in knowing who they are, I know that at least one aspect of Elliot's
appearance plays some role in his character. I am referring to his physical condition, his muscles. It's not something we see every episode, but Elliot will shed his shirt from time to time, giving us a view of his toned and muscular abs and arms. Now I believe this is
related to his character in two ways: 1) he was in the Marines so it's likely that working out has become routine for him as a result, and 2) as a cop, he needs to be in good shape in order to effectively pursue and restrain suspects/perps. I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if half-naked!Elliot were thrown in for a bit of fanservice, and that's okay, because hey - this is TV we are talking about. As I mentioned above, it's not something that happens every episode, so it's not really gratuitous.
In terms of Elliot's attractiveness, I think it is made note of much less than Olivia's. She has often been complimented (sometimes in creepy ways) for her good looks. But with Elliot, it doesn't happen too much. In one episode, a female perp mentions how good Elliot looks and precedes to come on to him (04.01, "Chameleon"). Though she is doing this all as an act, I'm sure she honestly
sees Elliot as being attractive; she mentions his body and how he must be a tease, and I believe there is some truth behind what she is saying. But for the most part, it's Olivia who receives comments from the opposite sex regarding her looks.
Elliot is an ironic character. To me what stands out as most ironic about him is his last name, Stabler. Elliot is known for being a tough man who pushes the limits on the job. He has crossed the line on many occasions, usually resulting in a verbal ass-kicking from Cragen or, in more serious cases, suspension.
To make my point, Elliot is unstable. He has anger issues of which everyone on the squad, and even some defense attorneys, are aware. Such issues have caused him to get into arguments with the very people who are on his side. And of course his unstable emotions have also played a part in him treating perps a little too roughly from time to time.
A prime example of his anger issues appears in the aptly titled episode, 'Rage'. The majorirty of the episode takes place in the interrogation room, with Elliot trying to break a suspect. He has a history with this man, who asks him a question that is very revealing of Elliot's character:
"Feeling unstable, Detective Stabler?"
So yeah, Elliot's instability is rather notorious. And even though Rickett is caught in the end, this episode ends with Elliot furiously pounding his fists into a locker.
- Gordon Rickett, "Rage"
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