It's looking like former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Christopher Meloni will be back as Elliot Stabler in the show's upcoming season 22 premiere before coming back into the role full time for his very own spin-off series. After leading the Law & Order spin-off alongside Mariska Hargitay as Olivian Benson for its first twelve seasons, Meloni departed the series to pursue other acting endeavors. His presence has been missed on the series ever since, but longtime fans may be seeing Meloni sharing the screen with Hargitay once again when the show comes back on the air with season 22.

Speaking about what's to come for Law & Order: SVU on the show's official podcast, showrunner Warren Leight revealed his intentions to bring back Christopher Meloni as Stabler for the premiere of season 22, and he seems pretty confident that the appearance is going to happen. ""It's pretty clear that Elliot will be in the SVU operner. I think that much I know," Leight bluntly states. This follows previous comments from Leight suggesting Stabler's wife and were supposed to appear in the season 21 finale of the show before production on the episode was completely scrapped.

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Bringing in Stabler to help establish the character's upcoming spin-off certainly makes sense, and that's a big reason why Meloni will likely be reprising the ironic role early into the next season of SVU. Leight claims that the season 22 premiere will be "not just about the SVU season opener, it's how do we help launch the new series, and how much crossover will there be between Elliot and Olivia as it goes on." These comments also make it clear that there's a good chance Hargitay will be making special appearances in the Elliot Stabler spin-off as well, but it sounds like the power that be are still figuring out just how much Stabler and Benson will be checking in with one another as their separate shows move forward.

After starring as Stabler for the first twelve seasons of SVU, Meloni opted to leave the series ahead of season 13. Although he's kept in touch with Mariska Hargitay, Meloni hasn't appeared as Stabler on the series since, remaining focused on other projects like True Blood, Happy!, and Harley Quinn. Still, SVU fans continued to miss Meloni as Stabler as the years went on, although the series has remained very popular even in his absence. In March, it was reported that Meloni would finally be coming back to play Stabler for his own spin-off series, which was picked up by NBC. Of course, fan reaction to the news has been very positive.

As television productions are currently on pause, there's no word on when we will see Meloni back on television as Elliot Stabler. However, it's great to know that an entire spin-off series of Meloni in the role is now in the works, and it's even better to hear that there's a high likelihood of him first appearing on Law & Order: SVU as soon as the crime drama returns to NBC. This news comes to us from TVLine.