Best known for his role as hotheaded detective Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Meloni has recently traded in his badge for a set of pointed teeth on True Blood.

Before breaking into the big time playing bisexual criminal Chris Keller on HBO's Oz, Meloni worked as a construction worker, bartender, bouncer, and personal trainer in New York. In 1999, a year after Meloni was cast on Oz, Law & Order producer Dick Wolf signed him to play detective Elliot Stabler on the new L & O franchise, Special Victims Unit. Until Oz went off the air in 2003, Meloni was featured on both shows, on both sides of the law. In 2011, he announced that he would not be returning to SVU for its 13th season, leaving Mariska Hargitay to fight crime without a partner.

Meloni isn't all bisexual criminal and straight-laced cop, though - he's been in comedic films, including Wet Hot American Summer, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and its less-successful sequel, Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Meloni will make his return to HBO on True Blood in 2012.

Meloni has been married to production designer Sherman Williams since 1995; they have two children, Sophia and Dante. [Image via Getty]