Elliot was born and raised in Queens, New York to Joe and Bernadette Stabler. Elliot and his 3 brothers and 2 sisters were raised in the old-fashioned Irish way of never hugging, never saying 'I love you'. When Elliot was 8, he wanted to be an architect while building amazing buildings with his blocks and Legos, sketching cities with sky-scrapers going up to the sky. But it was kid stuff: Elliot really wanted to be a cop.
One summer, the family rented a cottage in Wildwood, building sandcastles. But things went wrong when Bernadette told Joe she was leaving them while running around showing how she needed to be free. When Joe picked up Elliot, she ran off and got his gun threatening to kill herself, but Joe laughed. When Elliot started to cry, Bernie took a shot at them. Elliot remembered the crazed look on her face and wondered why she hated them so much.
When Elliot was 10, Bernie wanted to go to Paris to be a painter and took Elliot to the airport while trying to buy the tickets with her Macy's card. The flight was idlewild and so Joe picked them up. During the same time period, Elliot was in the 5th grade, he and Joe made a diorama on the Civil War. But Elliot moved a tree that angered Joe who destroyed the project while calling him a failure. Elliot cried and got a F. They butted heads a lot.
Elliot was one time part of a Thanksgiving Day Pageant, dressed as a carrot that Bernie made for him. Joe was happy that he wasn't dressed as a fruit.
In 1969, Bernie and Elliot were in a car accident- they were driving in a blizzard and were the only car out driving. Bernie was chasing after snowflakes and drove into a pole that broke Elliot's arm.
While Elliot was in high school, he played Strong Safety in football
By the time Elliot was 20 years old, he was already married to Kathy and had Maureen. Elliot worked the graveyard shift at his Uncle's bar. One night he was out back emptying the trash when these 2 rich punks jumped him. Elliot knew who they were because they had spit in his face earlier in the night when he wouldn't served them drinks as they had no ID. So, they were fighting and Elliot picked up a bottle and busted one of the kids' head- he nearly died. Elliot told the cops his story and was sent home. The next day, Elliot was arrested from one of the kids' father, who was a lawyer and had a friend in the DA office. But Joe called in a favor and got the case to go away.
When Elliot was 18, he enlisted in the Marines while Maureen was a baby. He returned home after 2 years to start his new life as a cop. Elliot became a Detective in 1989 when he arrested Callum Donovan of robbery, despite not being old enough.