The actor said the writers are "trying to figure out the arc of the story, who the characters are and how they interact"

By Aurelie Corinthios
July 29, 2020 11:29 AM
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Production on Christopher Meloni's upcoming Law & Order spinoff is in flux amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The actor, who is set to reprise his role as detective Elliot Stabler in NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime, recently gave an update on the project during an appearance on SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Show.

"We're in the middle of a pandemic production. You know, everything is just insane," he said. "You get new edicts out of New York City and New York state, and for good reason. And then you get new rules and regulations coming out of Universal, and then from the unions. You have to service a lot of masters right now, just to make sure everybody is safe, right? What's the new norm for shooting?"

"So that is the long way of saying the writers are breaking rocks, trying to figure out the arc of the story, who the characters are and how they interact, and I have yet to see a script," he said, jokingly adding, "I'm working on my tan, okay?"

Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler

As for how he thinks Elliot will have evolved?

"Regression I don't find particularly interesting. I always thought of Elliot, as flawed as he may have been, I think his heart was always in the right place," Meloni said. "I think it was his sense of injustice that just brought out the worst aspects of him. I think age, a mellowing, maybe not in his passions but in how he went about doing his job. I think he has evolved, I think he's in a good place now with his family, I think he's at a much better place with himself vis-à-vis the world."

That said, Meloni acknowledged the character will be "coming back into a world that, as we're all experiencing right now, has really changed, with policing and the citizenry."

"It's a new day, and there are new ways of going about things," he said. "So I think those are all issues to address in the show, and I think it's going to be a challenge for Elliot, one that I think he'll meet."

News of Meloni's return to the beloved franchise broke in March. The series, which has received a 13-episode order, will follow Stabler as he returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after suffering a "devastating personal loss" of his own, NBC announced in June.

Fans will get to 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," NBC said.

The show, from Law & Order mastermind Dick Wolf, is set to premiere this fall and will air on Thursdays at 10 p.m., following Law & Order: SVU.

Stabler and his new role with the force will be introduced in the season 22 premiere of SVU, reuniting him with his former costar Mariska Hargitay, who plays detective Olivia Benson. The two sent fans into a frenzy when they posted selfies from their non-production related reunion earlier this month while Meloni, 59, was visiting Hargitay, 56, at home.

"She has some digs out in the country there, so I was out there visiting and doing other stuff and I thought, 'Why not just drop by for a spot of tea?'" Meloni told Cagle. "So that's what we did. We broke bread, we had some laughs."

"You know, we can be away from each other for two years and we just pick up where we left off — just breaking each other's chops and having our own language and reminiscing," he added. "It's a good friend ... and it's a nice place to be with her."

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni in Law & Order: SVU
Craig Blankenhorn/NBCU

Meloni was an original cast member when the SVU franchise premiered in September 1999, and his chemistry with Hargitay helped turn the show into an instant hit. He left in 2011 after contract negotiations broke down.

Stabler was written off the show after its season 12 finale as he retired from the police force. Since then, Meloni has gone on to guest star in a number of shows, including Pose and Surviving Jack, as well as lead the SyFy series Happy!