We're going to have to wait a while longer to see Christopher Meloni star in the new series Law & Order: Organized Crime, as the Special Victims Unit spinoff has been delayed until 2021. Previously, the plan had been for the new show to debut this fall alongside the return of SVU. On Thursday, NBC announced that Law & Order: Organized Crime will instead be pushed back to next year. While certainly a bummer, the news isn't exactly surprising, given how many other movie and television productions have gotten similar delays.

Dick Wolf will executive produce with Matt Olmstead (Chicago P.D.) serving as showrunner. According to an official synopsis, a "devastating personal loss" leads to Stabler's return to the NYPD to lead its organized crime division. "However, the city and police department have changed dramatically in the decade he's been away, and he must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning. Throughout the series, we will follow Stabler's journey to find absolution and rebuild his life, while leading a new elite task force that is taking apart the city's most powerful criminal syndicates one by one."

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The reunion between former partners Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson has been teased by both Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, as well as by SVU showrunner Warren Leight. Meloni and Hargitay posted a photo online of the two together earlier this summer, and Leight had confirmed that Stabler would first return in SVU before moving on to his own spinoff series. With Organized Crime getting delayed until 2021, it is now unclear if the plan is still for Meloni to bring back Stabler when SVU returns, or if his comeback will also be held back until the new show is ready to begin airing.

Chris Meloni had previously co-starred with Hargitay on the first twelve seasons of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, starting in 1999. Together, the two are among the most beloved fictional cops in television history, and many fans were disappointed to see Stabler leave the series after season 12. The part earned Meloni an Emmy Award nomination and is also one of the veteran actor's most famous performances. Though Meloni would continue to entertain in other shows like Wet Hot American Summer, Harley Quinn, and Happy!, longtime fans have been asking when Meloni would finally return to SVU, especially with the series still going to strong so many years later.

None of us want to see Organized Crime delayed, but the good news is that SVU will still be back with new episodes this fall as originally planned. Season 22 is set to premiere on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 9/8c on NBC. We may or may not see Stabler appear in the new episodes when the popular show returns, but we'll likely find out one way or the other in the coming months. Maybe the powers that be can compromise by giving Stabler several appearances in SVU this season now that fans have to wait for Organized Crime. This news comes to us from TV Guide.