Elliot Stabler Is Returning to the ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Universe in a New Spinoff and Fans Can’t Handle Their Excitement

This isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke. Christopher Meloni is returning to the Law & Order universe as Elliot Stabler. The actor will reprise his role from Law & Order: SVU in a 13-episode NBC crime drama series where his character leads an organized crime unit. For SVU fans who’ve never really gotten over Stabler’s departure from the long-running series, the news is cause for major excitement. 

Christopher Meloni left ‘Law & Order: SVU’ in 2011

Christopher Meloni
Christopher Meloni | Bobby Bank/WireImage

For some fans, Law & Order: SVU hasn’t been the same since Meloni’s departure. For 12 seasons, the actor portrayed Stabler on the NBC drama, working alongside Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson to solve heartbreaking, sexually-based crimes. But he exited the show in 2011, leaving behind a hole in viewers’ hearts when his character suddenly decided to retire. 

But on March 31, Deadline reported that Meloni would be reprising his role as Stabler in a new series. While the show doesn’t yet have a name, it could be part of the larger Law & Order franchise. And it will be set in New York, which means there’s also the possibility of a Stabler-Benson reunion. 

Fans are thrilled that Stabler is coming back to TV

SVU fans were beyond excited when they learned that Stabler would be returning to television. But at least one wasn’t quite sure whether to believe the reports, so they went straight to the source. 

“Sir can you pls confirm you’re coming back as Stabler so we can all sleep easy for the first night since quarantine began??!!!?” they tweeted at the actor. 

“Sleep tight,” Meloni replied. 

One fan reacted to Meloni’s confirmation that he’d be back as Stabler with a gif of Kevin McCallister from Home Alone freaking out. 

“We’re all gonna be okay, people,” another wrote. “Everything’s gonna be okay.”

People are eager for a reunion between Benson and Stabler

Meloni won’t be back on SVU, which is in its 21st season and has been renewed for three more. But crossovers between Dick Wolf shows are common, and people are hoping that we’ll eventually see a Stabler-Benson reunion, either on the new show of on SVU

Several fans pointed out that Stabler’s abrupt departure meant there was little closure for his character and that the status of his relationship with Benson was left unresolved. They’re hoping that Stabler’s return will allow writers to revisit those stories.

Others just want to see the two share the screen again. 

“Do you think Stabler and Benson will ever have a run in or meet for coffee at some point?” asked one fan. “That would make my heart so happy!” 

Will there be a Benson-Stabler romance?

Benson and Stabler smiling
Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler and Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson | Will Hart/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

While some are just thrilled that Stabler will be back, many SVU fans are dreaming of something more than just a brief meeting. Some in the fandom have long shipped the pair and wished that their professional relationship would turn romantic. They’re hoping the new series will finally deliver that storyline.   

“So, is Stabler’s wife dead? Or did they eventually get divorced? I’m okay w/either option, tbh,” tweeted one person.  

“Can they finally make Benson and Stabler an item?” asked another

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