Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Christopher Meloni has not directly commented on the news that he is returning to play Det. Elliot Stabler in a spin-off series, but has joked about the situation with fans. After the verified Meloni Facebook page posted about the project, Meloni clarified that he has no direct control over what is posted there. The new project will reportedly run 13 episodes and will air on NBC.
On Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly shared a video about the news, reporting that Meloni confirmed the news by sharing Deadline's original report on the spin-off. However, Meloni requested the outlet make a correction, telling fans he is not on the social network. "Small quibble: I did not confirm on Facebook. I'm not on Facebook," he tweeted.
Fans were perplexed, especially because there is a Facebook page called "Chris Meloni" with a blue check mark next to its name. Several fans kept asking Meloni about the page, and he suggested "my people" were "maybe" running it. "I think maybe 'my people' have supreme command over my FB account," he wrote in one tweet.
I think maybe “my people” have supreme command over my FB account https://t.co/P0q4NJ8pne— Chris Meloni (@Chris_Meloni) April 1, 2020
On Tuesday, Deadline reported that NBC put in a 13-episode order for a series starring Meloni playing Stabler for the first time since he left SVU at the end of Season 12 in 2011. The new series will find Stabler leading a NYPD organized crime unit. It would be executive produced by Dick Wolf, Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski, with Chicago P.D. veteran Matt Olmstead as showrunner. The new series will be the first new show from Wolf Entertainment after the prolific producer signed a five-year, nine-figure deal with NBCUniversal in March.
While Meloni has not confirmed or denied the series is happening, his former co-star, Mariska Hargitay, has already welcomed him back to the Law & Order family. On Thursday, Hargitay wished Meloni a happy birthday and included the hashtags "It's been awhile" and "Welcome home."
Meloni and Hargitay's on-screen chemistry as Stabler and Olivia Benson helped keep SVU on-air for its first 12 seasons. Meloni abruptly left the show between Seasons 12 and 13 over a contract dispute, so Stabler was abruptly written out of the show without a proper goodbye.
The character's story has rarely been mentioned since, but showrunner Warren Leight revealed to TVLine that the un-filmed Season 21 finale would have included Stabler's wife Kathy (played by Isabel Gillies) and his "troubled son." Unfortunately, the episode will not be filmed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the April 23 episode will be the finale.
Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
Photo credit: Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images