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The Law & Order: SVU/Organized Crime crossover event premieres Thursday, April 1 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC

By Natalie Stone
February 25, 2021 10:02 PM
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The long-awaited Law & Order: SVU reunion is almost here.

On April 1, Christopher Meloni will reprise his role as Detective Elliot Stabler and reunite onscreen with Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson for a new episode of the NBC drama, which will air right before the premiere of spinoff Law & Order: Organized Crime, in which Stabler is the central character. 

Ahead of the SVU and OC two-hour crossover event, NBC released a new promo, which features flashback footage of the partners before a sneak peek at their upcoming reunion.

"We've worked together a long time," Olivia says about Elliot in a scene. "I can anticipate what he's thinking, what he's going to do. Yeah, we have a great rapport."

The teaser then shows the disappointing moment Olivia learned that Elliot "put his papers in."

"There was nothing I could do," Captain Donald Cragen says.

The promo then transitions to "April 1," when Olivia is at a crime scene with other police officers and first responders — and among them is Elliot.

"Liv!" an unseen Elliot calls out to a shocked Olivia, who turns around and says, "Elliot."

Mariska Hargitay
Credit: nbc

The actors costarred on the series for 12 years as a detective duo before Meloni left in 2011 due to issues with contract negotiations.

Speaking with PEOPLE for this week's cover story, Hargitay said she was "devastated" when her friend and costar abruptly exited the series.

"I was just so sad, because we started this thing and built it together," she explained. "And we went through so many milestones and spent so much time together and understood so many things that nobody else could understand."

"I had to do so many mental gymnastics and sort of do a reinvention in my own mind, which of course turned out to be a gift, as any sort of growth is. But I was scared; I was sad," added the actress, who has continued playing Benson on SVU — now the longest-running drama series in TV history.

Meloni said he saw things differently, though. "She was left in the familiarity of what we were. And I'm sure there were echoes, constant reminders, everywhere," he said. "But for me, it was about how things fell out — and the word I'll use is that it was inelegant."

mariska hargitay and chris meloni
Credit: Chris Haston/NBC/Getty

"At the end of the day, how it was handled was, 'Okay, see you later.' So I went, 'That's fine. We're all big boys and girls here. See you later.' And I was off on new adventures and doing what I wanted to do. Telling the stories I wanted to tell," added Meloni, who went on to appear in numerous TV series, including True Blood and The Handmaid's Tale, as well as several films, like Man of Steel and Snatched.

"I couldn't have been happier. But she and I," he insisted, "we stayed connected."

While both actors moved forward and remained close as ever, Hargitay noted that fans of SVU "never moved on" after Stabler left — leaving the door open for the character's upcoming spinoff.

RELATED VIDEO: Friendship Goals! Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni on Their "Effortless, Easy, Fun" Relationship

"In television, when somebody leaves, obviously there's a grieving period, but the fans never moved on," Hargitay said. "And I think that is just so incredibly beautiful and so incredibly powerful."

According to Hargitay, the moment they came back together on screen was "so emotional."

"It was this thing that I had really dreamed about," she added.

The Law & Order: SVU/Organized Crime crossover event premieres Thursday, April 1 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

This article was written independently by PEOPLE's editorial team and meets our editorial standards. NBC is a paid advertising partner with PEOPLE.