Christopher Meloni Talks 'SVU' Spinoff, Confirms Stabler-Benson Reunion
Stabler will now be heading up a unit tasked with taking down crime syndicates in Law & Order: Organized Crime, and of course the big question on everyone's mind: Will he reunite with former partner Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay)? According to Meloni, the answer has to be yes.
"It just has to be," Meloni told The New York Post. "Benson and Stabler are inextricably linked, locked and connected. I think there is truly and deeply a worthwhile, inherent drama in exploring that relationship and the complexity of how Stabler left — the unresolved emotions both characters feel and how the fans feel."
As the actor noted, his character's exit "was really unsatisfying." Stabler's last appearance was in SVU's Season 12 finale, and he was officially written out—he retired off-screen— in the following season's premiere. As a result, we never got any on-screen goodbyes between him and the other characters, including his partner. Fortunately, with this new series, those relationships and more can be addressed. After all, crossovers will be easy; both SVU and Organized Crime are set in New York City.
"It almost feels that we won't do one or two [crossover] episodes and move on our merry way," Meloni added. "I just think there will always be possibilities there. People will always be hungry to see how we interact and how that dynamic has changed."
And both Stabler and Benson will have changed and gone through a lot when they come face-to-face again. For example, Benson survived an assault by serial rapist and killer William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber), became a mother to adopted son Noah (Ryan Buggle), and is now leading the squad as captain. Meanwhile, Stabler joined this task force and, according to the spinoff's logline, has suffered "a devastating personal loss."
"Dick gave me a general brush stroke of the unit that Elliot will be a part of. The whys, what fors, what brings him back to the fold and where he's been," Meloni shared, but he wouldn't reveal any details about that "loss."
In Law & Order: Organized Crime, scheduled to air after SVU on Thursdays in the fall, Stabler returns to the NYPD after a decade and must deal with the changes to the city and police department. "He must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning," NBC teases, and while heading the new elite task force, "Stabler will aim to find absolution and rebuild his life."
Law & Order: Organized Crime, Series Premiere, Fall 2020, NBC