Christopher Meloni will officially be returning to the world of Law & Order this fall. NBC announced its upcoming fall lineup on Tuesday, which promises a robust variety of both new and returning shows, despite losing months having shut down dozens of productions due to the coronavirus pandemic back in March.
The series, titled Law & Order: Organized Crime, will see Meloni reprising his role as Elliot Stabler. A staple of Law & Order: SVU, Stabler will return to the NYPD to battle organized crime after being motivated by a personal loss. Although his triumphant comeback comes in the midst of a dramatically changing department and city at large in the 10 years he's been gone. The series will follow Stabler as he attempts to rebuild his life as he leads a new elite task force tasked with taking apart the city's most powerful crime syndicates.
While a date has yet to be set, Law & Order: Organized Crime will become part of the coveted NBC Thursday night lineup. It'll kick off with Superstore at 8 p.m. ET, Brooklyn Nine-Nine at 8:30 p.m., followed by SVU at 9 p.m. and Organized Crime at 10:00 p.m. New episodes will also be available to stream on Peacock, the networks new streaming service set to debut on July 15.
Meloni himself confirmed the news on Twitter on April 1, sharing a report from Deadline about the upcoming spin-off, which itself was based on a post to his verified Facebook account. However, the actor did make one correction. "Small quibble: I did not confirm on Facebook. I'm not on Facebook," he tweeted at the time.
The news of Stabler's long-awaited return also has bigger implications for the Law & Order franchise, as well. On an episode of the Law & Order: SVU Podcast, showrunner Warren Leight revealed Stabler's first appearance on the premiere, but was fairly cryptic about the details surrounding his return. "It's pretty clear that Elliot will be in the SVU season opener," Leight said. "I think that much I know. Whether we get to see his family as well remains to be seen."
During its first 12 seasons on the air, SVU gained a following in part because of the chemistry between Meloni and co-star Mariska Hargitay, who plays Olivia Benson. Over their years together on the force, their often conflicting personalities were at odds during their police work, which for many became the heart of the series up until his departure from the procedural back in 2011.