A decade of waiting paid off for Law & Order: SVU fans when Christopher Meloni's Eliot Stabler returned to the fold for a crossover episode setting up his new series, Law & Order: Organized Crime. Meloni left SVU In 2011 after a contract dispute fell through, spurring the actor to pursue other endeavors for years before returning to the role of Stabler.
"I was actually very proud of myself," Meloni explained to NPR. "I always thought, when I do this, I'm going to feel like the house cat that got locked out of the house - you know? - so this pampered animal. You work your whole career for what I got. You know, I hit the jackpot. I hit a show that meant something, was well-written, was well-received. You loved the working conditions and the people. It was a well-run machine. Every aspect was there. And yet, you know - the - fill in the blank. The artist in me, the restless actor or creator - that guy needed to move on."
Meloni returned to the fold last week, reuniting with Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson after years of alienation. The former partners shared an intense, emotionally charged scene in the crossover episode that featured Benson calling out Stabler's decision to walk away without saying goodbye. The entire episode proved that the chemistry that Meloni and Hargitay shared was still was the stuff of legend, with that one scene, in particular, reviving fandom to new heights.
Fans were thrilled to see Meloni back in action, and Twitter immediately erupted with praise over the actor's range. "WOW THIS HURTS ME BUT ALSO HI MY BABIES," writer Carly Lane-Perry tweeted. "These two always had fantastic chemistry and they killed it in this scene, also I am not over the way Meloni quietly whispers 'Liv.'"
No really, who else has the range? pic.twitter.com/JFCO6GL53H— Grant Genske (@grantgenske) April 2, 2021
Twitter had tons of opinions, pointing out that while he is usually left out of the Best Chris discussion, Meloni was in a league of his own. "Pratt Pine Hemsworth and Evans could never," one Twitter user responded. People were also quick to point out Meloni's comedic turn in the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer, which is a far cry from Stabler. "He is one of the few leading men with real comedic timing, that role was unhinged in the best way," one fan pointed out. It's safe to say that fans are thrilled to have Meloni back on their televisions every week and they can't wait to see what he does next.