This will be the first time Christoper Meloni will be playing Stabler since leaving Law & Order: SVU back in 2011

By Dave Quinn
March 31, 2020 04:26 PM
Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

Elliot Stabler is back!

On Tuesday, Deadline reported that Christopher Meloni will be reprising his role as the iconic Law & Order: Special Victims Units detective for a new NBC spinoff series.

The still untitled show, which could be branded as part of the Law & Order franchise, will follow Stabler as he leads the organized crime division of the NYPD. It’s already received a 13-episode order.

Dick Wolf, Law & Order mastermind, is behind the show and will executive produce alongside Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski. This is the first show to come out of the five-year deal Wolf signed with Universal Television last month, for a rumored nine-digit figure.

Another member of the Wolf family will be working on the show, too: former Chicago P.D showrunner Matt Olmstead, who will serve as writer-showrunner.

When reached by PEOPLE, NBC had no comment.

Christopher Meloni
David Livingston/Getty

This will be the first time Meloni will be playing Stabler since leaving Law & Order: SVU back in 2011 after contract negotiations broke down.

He was an original cast member when the franchise premiered in September 1999, and he earned a lead actor in a drama series Emmy nomination for his work on the show in 2006.

Stabler was written off in the show after its season 12 finale, though wasn’t killed off, retiring from the police force instead.

Meloni’s chemistry with Mariska Hargitay, as Stabler’s partner, Det. Olivia Benson, helped turn the show into an instant hit.

In February, Law & Order: SVU was renewed through its 24th season. Its current record-breaking 21st season displaced Gunsmoke and the flagship Law & Order series as the longest-running live-action primetime television show.

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni in Law & Order: SVU
Will Hart/NBC

Since then, Meloni — a longtime television veteran — has gone on to guest in a number of shows, including Pose and Surviving Jack, as well as lead the SyFy series Happy!.

He and Hargitay have stayed in contact too, reuniting and posing together for sweet pictures throughout the years.

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In January, Hargitay told E! News at The Paley Center’s salute to Law & Order: SVU that she credits her relationship with Meloni to “part of the success of the show.”

Meloni agreed, the two actors both stressing they felt immediate “chemistry” when reading during auditions for the show.

“She and I hit it off right from the get-go,” Meloni said, with Hargitay describing her relationship with him as “instantaneous ease, trust, comfort.”

Hargitay added that in addition to Meloni, she feels extremely grateful for the relationships she’s formed on the show. “The friendships I made on the show, people who are like family to me, it’s been the greatest gift,” she said.