Chris Meloni Opens up About Returning to 'Law and Order': 'It Was Effortlessly Correct'

Chris Meloni finally felt things "fell into place" that would make it the right time for him to reprise the role of Elliot Stabler after years of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans begging him to make a return. Meloni is slated to bring the beloved character to a new spinoff, titled Law & Order: Organized Crime, this fall, marking the first time he will have played Stabler in nine years after his exit from SVU in Season 12.

In Organized Crime, the new NBC drama will follow Stabler's return to the New York Police Department as the department is in the middle of some serious changes that will force Stabler to change his ways for the future of the criminal justice system as he leads a new task force taking on the city's most powerful crime syndicates. While Meloni had opportunities to reprise his famous role in the past, he said Organized Crime simply felt like the right time.

"A certain piece just fell into place," Meloni told Entertainment Tonight. "For me, there were just personal things that I was like, 'You know, now is a good time.' That was it. There was nothing secret. It just was effortlessly correct." He continued that it almost felt cosmic how clear he felt about the new show. "It's one of these [things where] I felt like I believed in the stars and all that… I'd go, 'Oh, the stars are telling me you know but because it was just right.'"

Before Organized Crime's premiere this fall, Meloni will appear alongside his former co-star Mariska Hargitay as SVU returns for a 22nds season, fulfilling fans' long-standing desire for a reunion between Stabler and Detective Olivia Benson. "[SVU] gave birth to Mariska and Meloni, and Benson and Stabler. So we're kind of inextricably linked and connected in that way," Meloni said of the bond he has with his co-star. "Beyond that, we're very good friends. I think we value each other."

Things were just as effortless getting back together with his former colleague, he noted. "We just pick it up right where we left off and we've said it's like we don't have this relationship with anyone else," Meloni said. "It's unique, it's full of laughter, she's full of love. We just kind of fall seamlessly into that place every time we see each other."