Elliot Stabler returning for 'Law & Order: SVU' 22nd season premiere

Here’s a “Law & Order: SVU” twist you might not have expected: Christopher Meloni is coming back to the show as Elliot Stabler!

During an episode of “SVUs” podcast behind the scenesshowrunner Warren Leight commented, “It’s pretty obvious that Elliot will be in the ‘SVU’ season opener. I think I know a lot.”


Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson) and Christopher Meloni (Elliot Stabler) in 2001 on the set of “Law & Order: SVU.”Alamy Stock Photo

Those who have been playing detective for the past few weeks and following the “SVU” directions may not be to shocked. In late March, NBC ordered a Stabler-focused spin-off from the main show, with Meloni as the tough, fleeting but much-admired cop.

The new series is reportedly set in the organized crime department, so he wouldn’t be working opposite his longtime partner Capt. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), but that was okay for fans, who longed to give Stabler back to the beat for years.

Stabler and Benson played detectives together on “SVU” when it premiered in 1999; the couple had great chemistry and while their story never became a love affair (Stabler was usually happily married most of the time), they clearly felt very deeply for each other. Meloni left the series in 2011 after the show’s 12th season.

Over the years we have been tickled to see that Hargitay and Meloni have remained such great friends; for his 59th birthday on April 2, she posted a great photo of both on Instagram:

She wrote, “Congratulations @chris_meloni Congratulations and welcome home Elliot Stabler # It’sBeenAWhile #MissedYou #ElliotStabler,” and he replied in the comments, “Saddle up gurl, we ridin agin.”

But Stabler’s return was already in the works for season 21 – which was cut short when production was halted due to the coronavirus outbreak. Leight told TVLine in April that would have included the season 21 finale of Stabler’s wife, Kathy, and their son as part of the storyline.

Will they be part of the season 22 premiere? Leight isn’t sure yet. “There are a lot of moving parts,” he said, noting that the premiere would launch not only the new season, but the new series as well.

“It’s … how much crossover there will be between Elliot and Olivia if it continues,” he added. That means some details of the scrapped final could become part of the new premiere.

But there is still one problem. “We don’t know when we’ll be shooting again and what it will be like in the post-COVID world,” he said.

Whatever happens, consider us arrested by these new developments!

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