Will Christopher Meloni Return for ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Season 21?

Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit
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Law & Order: SVU has to end sometime — though it likely won’t happen soon — and before it does, there is a certain cast member fans want to see back.

And showrunner Warren Leight seems hopeful that Christopher Meloni may one day reprise his role as Elliot Stabler. “I assume that if some year, some decade, couple decades from now, we get to the last SVU, [Meloni] would have to come back before we do the last episode or before the show signs off,” he said to TVLine. Whenever the series does end, Leight doesn’t seem to expect it to be this season.

Meloni exited the NBC drama after he and NBC Universal couldn’t negotiate a new contract after Season 12.

Though the actor wrote on Twitter in December 2018 that he had “zero plans” to return for SVU‘s 20th season, a source has reportedly told TVLine that he “would very much be interested in returning for a five- or six-episode arc when the series ultimate comes to an end to give fans some closure.”

That does sound promising, and it wouldn’t just be welcome news for fans if he does return. His on-screen partner for years, Mariska Hargitay, whose Olivia Benson now leads the SVU squad, told TV Insider in June 2018 that “it would be fun to have ‘one last hurrah'” for their characters.

Since his character retired from the force, it’s not like they can just bring Stabler back for a current case, but consulting on an unsolved one from years ago is a possibility. (Richard Belzer’s Munch has returned in a similar capacity.) But that’s something to think about if Meloni does in fact ever return to the show.

Law & Order: SVU, Season 21 Premiere, Thursday, September 26, 10/9c, NBC