It's been a decade since Law & Order: SVU's Elliot Stabler retired suddenly from the NYPD, leaving partner Olivia Benson (and fans) shocked at the exit, so the two characters' reunion is bound to be a complicated one. Ahead of Thursday's Law & Order: SVU special crossover event with the new, Stabler-led spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime, Chris Meloni teased how things would go when his character finally came face-to-face with Mariska Hargitay's Benson in an interview Monday with TV Line.
Asked about the possible difficult reunion for the two characters, Meloni responded, "Well, this is what I think about that: No one's going to be satisfied." With a laugh, he explained, "I mean, it's such a long time. It is so many unanswered questions. I think there's such a great sense of abandonment and betrayal and a what-the-f–k-ed-ness of it all, that, you know, that wound is, you know, not going to be… get its dressings all, you know, squared away. You know, it's going to be a process, right?"
Meloni is contracted to appear in at least one more episode of SVU later this season, so there are more Benson/Stabler scenes to come than just in Thursday's special. Despite her feelings of abandonment by her former partner, Benson and her unit will have to come together to support Stabler as he tries to track down someone who has been threatening his family.
Reprising his famous detective role was on Meloni's radar "zero percent," he admitted to TV Line, revealing he had "bid [the show] adieu" and was "trying to continue a career" with shows like True Blood, Happy! and The Handmaid's Tale. Being welcomed back with such open arms is a special honor, he acknowledged. "It's such a unique experience I'm living, which is a sense of welcoming and love and just, 'Welcome back' and 'We've missed you.' It feels very sweet. And I'm just going, man, not too many people get this," he said. "It's not lost on me."
Meloni previously told Entertainment Weekly that he was approached for Organized Crime by executive producer Dick Wolf, which he said was an offer he couldn't refuse. "It felt great, a surprising sense of freedom," he said. "It was a very interesting feeling because I rarely get it. It was just kind of a weird sign that everything's right, and I was where I belonged." Don't miss the two-hour Law & Order: SVU crossover event Thursday, April 1 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.and available to watch the next day on Hulu.