Stabler and Benson are back together! Christopher Meloni had Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans freaking out Friday as he shared a photo with Mariska Hargitay ahead of their characters' long-anticipated reunion. Meloni's Elliot Stabler will be making his grand return to SVU to reunite with Hargitay's Olivia Benson on Season 22 of the crime procedural as a lead-in to his own spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime, set to premiere in 2021.
Stabler and Benson's reunion was originally scheduled for the SVU season premiere, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a change in showrunner on Organized Crime, the moment fans have been waiting for since Meloni's exit in 2011 was delayed. The Wet Hot American Summer actor seemed to urge fans to be patient with his Friday Instagram post, showing him with Hargitay in their characters' costumes. "We are a little bit closer," he wrote in the caption.
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In Organized Crime, Stabler will return to the New York Police Department after a family loss, only to learn how much the criminal justice system has changed since his exit. The spinoff was originally led by One Chicago franchise veteran Matt Olmstead, but after a shift in the show's higher-ups, will now be run by Ilene Chaiken of The L Word.
In July, after Meloni's return was announced, he told Entertainment Tonight that a "certain piece" fell into place for him that prepared him to take another go at Stabler. "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 said of returning to one of his most iconic roles a decade later. "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.'"
Getting back on set with his former scene partner and longtime friend, Hargitay, he said there was no problem rekindling their on-screen chemistry. "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," he shared. "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."