Christopher Meloni might be just as excited as fans to return to the Law & Order universe. The former Law & Order: SVU star and current Law & Order: Organized Crime star returns as Elliot Stabler on April 1, and he is celebrating this decade-in-the-making event with some lovely fan art. Meloni showed off some framed artwork featuring Stabler and his longtime partner, Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson, on Instagram alongside the caption "What I did yesterday: Collect art."
Meloni recently told People about the contract dispute that lead to his SVU exit in 2011 after being on the show for 12 years. "For me, it was about how things fell out — and the word I’ll use is that it was inelegant, Meloni explained. "At the end of the day, how it was handled was, 'Okay, see you later.' So I went, 'That’s fine. We’re all big boys and girls here. See you later.' And I was off on new adventures and doing what I wanted to do."
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"There was so much shorthand between us, which all goes back to the trust we have," Hargitay explained to People. "He's always made me feel like I could just jump off the ledge, the cliff, the bridge, and he would catch me, in so many ways, whether it was comedy or acting or friendship."
Despite Meloni's abrupt exit, he explained that he and Hargitay "stayed connected" over the last decade, a sentiment that Hargitay echoed a number of times. The co-stars recently opened up to People about their bond, which began immediately at the screen test. Meloni explained that he "walked into the screen test, me telling her a story, and we get up on stage in front of all the suits, and we're just so engaged."
"I walked in, saw him, and I went, 'That guy. That's the guy,'" Hargitay agreed. "It went deep, very fast. We both knew that it was something big. I won't say that I fully understood it, but I knew that meeting him was important and life-changing. My father, my husband, [Law & Order creator] Dick Wolf, and Chris are the four pillar men in my life. And that happened early."
Stabler and Benson are set to reunite on SVU that will lead directly into the Organized Crime pilot on April 1. In the preview clip, Stabler wonders what it will be like to see Benson after a decade apart. "You know how much time has passed that you can’t reach out? Days turn into months turn into years and I just kept waiting for the right moment," he explains. It's safe to say that even after ten years of waiting, SVU fans are waiting with bated breath.