Former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Christopher Meloni's return to the franchise is now just a few weeks away, and the actor is working overtime to keep fans very excited about the premiere of his spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime. On Thursday, he shared a photo from the set, alongside co-stars Dylan McDermott, Danielle Mone Truitt, and Tamara Taylor. Meloni will be seen as Elliot Stabler for the first time in a decade during a special SVU episode, leading into the Organized Crime premiere on Thursday, April 1 at 10 p.m. ET.
"What I did yesterday: Made new friends on the #L&O: OC April 1 premiere," Meloni wrote in the caption. During a break in filming, Meloni also bought art from an artist on the New York City streets near their production. The first piece of art was a drawing of himself with Mariska Hargitay, who plays Capt. Olivia Benson on SVU. The second drawing Meloni picked up was a sketch of himself from a very stressful SVU episode.
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Organized Crime begins with Stabler returning to the New York City Police Department after initially retiring ten years ago. After suffering a personal tragedy, he rejoins the NYPD ranks and is picked to lead an elite squad to stop crime syndicates in the Big Apple. The roles played by McDermott, Taylor, and Truitt are still a mystery. The show will also feature newcomer Ainsley Seiger, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Arts.
NBC has already released a couple of very short teasers for Organized Crime. In the first, Stabler was seen apologizing to someone offscreen for being away so long. "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 said. In a second spot, Benson is at a crime scene when she hears Stabler call out, "Liv." Benson turned around and said, "Elliot" just before the spot ended.
Stabler left SVU between Seasons 12 and 13 due to a contract dispute between Meloni and the network. Since Meloni did not come back for the Season 13 premiere, his disappearance was simply explained in dialogue. Capt. Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) simply told Benson that Stabler retired, and Benson was left to grapple with the fact that she did not get the opportunity to say goodbye to Stabler.
When production on the SVU/Organized Crime crossover started though, it was like Meloni and Hargitay never stopped working together. "There was so much shorthand between us, which all goes back to the trust we have," Hargitay told PEOPLE recently. "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."