'Law & Order': Is Christopher Meloni Returning to More 'SVU' Episodes?

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner Warren Leight appeared to confirm that Christopher [...]

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner Warren Leight appeared to confirm that Christopher Meloni will appear as Elliot Stabler in more than just one SVU episode. Stabler will make his return to SVU in the April 1 episode, "Return of the Prodigal Son," which leads directly into the Law & Order: Organized Crime pilot. This marks the first time Stabler is appearing on the show in a decade.

On Friday, Leight gave a shout-out to the SVU Season 22 directors, Sebastian Silva, Noberto Barba, Juan Jose Campanella, Martha Mitchell, and Jean de Segonzac. "Three Benson/Stabler scenes today, nicely directed by [Silva] on his last day with us for the season," Leight wrote. "Boy are we blessed by the directors we've had this season."

One fan asked if the new scenes with Stabler would be featured in the April 1 episode. "Yesterday's scenes were for an SVU down the road," Leight responded. NBC has not released any episode titles for episodes after "Return of the Prodigal Son." This season is still expected to have 22 episodes, despite the delayed production start due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the April 1 episode, the SVU team rushes to help Stabler after there is a threat to his family. Isabel Gillies, Allison Siko, and Jeffrey Scaperrotta, who played Stabler's wife, daughter, and son, respectively, will all reportedly appear in the episode. NBC's description for Organized Crime suggests Stabler is dealt a "personal tragedy" that inspires him to re-join the New York City Police Department. In Organized Crime, he will lead an elite squad tasked with stopping crime syndicates. Dylan McDermott, Tamara Taylor, Danielle Mone Truitt, and Ainsley Seiger also star in Organized Crime, but their character names have not been revealed yet.

Meloni has not appeared on SVU since Season 12 ended, and his departure was unceremoniously explained through dialogue in the Season 13 premiere. However, he has remained close to both Mariska Hargitay, who plays Olivia Benson, and producer Dick Wolf. "I was intrigued for a variety of personal reasons," Meloni told Entertainment Weekly about Wolf's pitch to return. "If you have, at least from my perspective, a very well-known and beloved TV character who left abruptly and, I would argue, unceremoniously... there's a built-in recognizability, a thing that needs to be satiated with a sense of closure. Those are all very attractive things."

One thing Meloni was not interested in though was coming back to SVU full-time instead of leading his own show. "That, I didn't want to do," Meloni told EW. "That felt like going back to what was. That boat had sailed." SVU will return with a new episode on Thursday, April 1 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Organized Crime will launch immediately afterward at 10 p.m. ET.