Elliot Stabler will continue to appear in episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit beyond the upcoming Law & Order crossover event. On April 1, Chris Meloni will return to SVU for the first time since leaving the series in 2011, reuniting with his former co-star Mariska Hargitay. Stabler's own spinoff series, Law & Order: Organized Crime, will premiere immediately after the new SVU episode.
On Friday, executive producer Warren Leight tweeted that the SVU team had just shot "three Benson/Stabler scenes today" with director Sebastian Silva. When a fan asked Leight to clarify if this was for the crossover in April or for future scenes in later episodes, Leight added that the scenes "were for an SVU down the road." This means Stabler will soon be back on SVU despite simultaneously starring in his own series.
Stabler will first return to the Law & Order universe in the SVU episode "Return of the Prodigal Son." Set up to establish Stabler's solo spinoff series, the episode will see the detective returning to the force to reunite with Olivia Benson and his other old pals. In Organized Crime, Stabler forms a new task force to pursue the biggest crime syndicates in the city after suffering a "devastating personal loss."
"It just has to be," Chris Meloni told The New York Post last year, teasing that we would see more between Stabler and Benson beyond a single reunion. "Benson and Stabler are inextricably linked, locked and connected. I think there is truly and deeply a worthwhile, inherent drama in exploring that relationship and the complexity of how Stabler left - the unresolved emotions both characters feel and how the fans feel."
Meloni added: "It almost feels that we won't do one or two [crossover] episodes and move on our merry way. I just think there will always be possibilities there. People will always be hungry to see how we interact and how that dynamic has changed."
Meanwhile, we're going to be meeting a different Elliot Stabler after he says hello to his old colleagues. In an interview with AP this year, Meloni detailed how things have changed with Stabler since we last saw him ten years ago.
"You can have certain behavioral patterns as a younger man that I don't think wear as well as an older man," Meloni said. "I think that if you are conscious and have aspects of empathy and awareness, you acquire a modicum of wisdom, which I think helps temper impulses. I think the heart and soul of this man, Elliot, is still very much alive and burning."
Meloni also described returning to the role as nerve-wracking, but the SVU family made the process much smoother by welcoming him back with open arms. Mariska Hargitay has been consistently posting selfies of the two together in anticipation of the upcoming crossover event. More recently, a photo from the set saw Ice-T joining in on the reunion with Meloni and Hargitay.
The crossover event kicks off with Stabler's return to Law & Order: Organized Crime on April 1, followed by the premiere of Law & Order: Organized Crime. It's not yet clear when the next episode with Stabler that was shot last week will air. This news stems from Warren Leight on Twitter.