Stabler Is Back! Inside Christopher Meloni's 'Law & Order: SVU' Spinoff
Fulfilling the fervent hopes of millions of fans, Det. Elliot Stabler is coming back to the squad room.
Christopher Meloni will revive the tough-as-nails NYC detective in a new drama for NBC, nine years after he left Law & Order: SVU, a show he once called "the millennium's cultural touchstone." The character — who, in a 2011 episode, ostensibly retired from the force after a tragic shooting at SVU headquarters — will head up a unit specializing in organized crime.
No other cast has been announced, but Stabler's wife, Kathy (Isabel Gillies), and one of his five children were slated to appear in SVU's season finale (which never filmed due to the coronavirus pandemic), hinting that members of the Stabler family will be part of the story.
NBC has ordered 13 episodes, making this still-untitled procedural the seventh scripted series from prolific producer Dick Wolf scheduled to be on air in the 2020–21 season.
While Meloni had previously said that he would return for a guest spot if the circumstances were right, the prospect seemed unlikely, more so considering it never materialized during SVU's record-breaking 21st season. However, the actor, whose recent projects range from dramas (Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale and WGN America's Underground) to a wacky comic book adaptation (Syfy's Happy!), has always insisted his exit from SVU was not acrimonious and stressed his love for everyone associated with the hit.
Of his relationship with SVU star Mariska Hargitay (Capt. Olivia Benson), "We are like a married couple," he told TV Guide Magazine in 2009. When news of the upcoming show broke, she wrote on Instagram, "Welcome home." Meloni's response: "Saddle up, gurl, we ridin agin."
Does that mean Stabler and Benson will work together? A reunion at some point is a decent bet since Wolf's shows are known for their successful crossovers and SVU was just renewed for three more seasons. Watch out, bad guys!