The Chicago Syndicate: Chris Meloni, @Chris_Meloni, Confirmed for Law & Order: Organized Crime
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Friday, June 19, 2020

Chris Meloni, @Chris_Meloni, Confirmed for Law & Order: Organized Crime

Chris Meloni of Law & Order: Organized Crime
NBC made it official on Tuesday: Det. Elliot Stabler is coming back to TVs everywhere sometime this fall. The character, once again played by Christopher Meloni, will head up a new Law & Order spinoff, titled Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Rumors of Meloni's return to the procedural mega-franchise has been talked about since February, nearly a decade after he departed from Law & Order: SVU after Season 12. Although fans never stopped hoping he'd return to the show, and for good reason. When SVU premiered in 1999, Meloni's portrayal of Stabler was one of the things that drew viewers in those early episodes, along with his rapport with co-star Mariska Hargitay, who played Captain Olivia Benson.

While SVU managed to succeed in the wake of Meloni's absence, Season 22 will be premiering sometime this fall, the show's dedicated viewers never let go of the possibility of his character's eventual return. Even though the actor previously insisted he had "no plans" to return to the Law & Order fold, that appears to have changed. Other than the fact that Organized Crime will follow SVU on Thursday nights, there aren't a lot of details at the moment, including a premiere date for the show. However, here's a rundown of what we do know about Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Law & Order: SVU premiered in September of 1999, and was itself a spinoff of Dick Wolf's drama Law & Order. Meloni's Elliot Stabler was a dedicated family man who often took his department's grim cases to heart, oftentimes complicating the investigations along the way. This was regularly at odds with Hargitay's Captain Benson, who often took the opposite perspective, and created a dynamic that drove the show for more than a decade.

After helping anchor SVU for 12 seasons, Stabler's absence was casually explained away in an off-screen retirement. Given that he never received a proper send-off, which is why so many fans have been yearning to see him come back. It turns out, the actor left the show simply because he was unable to reach terms with NBC on a contract extension.

In an interview with PEOPLE back in February, Hargitay mentioned there had been "conversations" about Stabler being brought out of retirement, though she was also scarce on the details. "I can't tell you that; I'm taking the Fifth!" Hargitay said. "There have been conversations, many a conversation." Back in August of last year, showrunner Warren Leight told TVLine that he was hopeful that Stabler would return, though he pointed out that the decision was "above my pay grade."

After rumors started gaining steam in March, Meloni himself confirmed the news on Twitter, albeit indirectly. He did have a "small quibble" about the announcement, which was just that he's "not on Facebook." While the actor does have a verified page on the platform, he later clarified that someone else runs it. Regardless, fans were beside themselves over the news.

Law & Order: Organized Crime will see Stabler return to the NYPD to battle organized crime, which comes with some extra motivation due to a personal loss. His triumphant comeback also comes during dramatic changes in the city's police department, not to mention the city at large. The series will follow Stabler as he attempts to rebuild his life as he leads a new elite task force tasked with taking apart the city's most powerful crime syndicates. In addition to the new series, Stabler will also appear in SVU's Season 22 premiere.

Along with Tuesday's announcement, NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy addressed how Organized Crime, as well as the rest of its cop dramas and comedies, will fit into a world being reframed by Civil Rights protests. Telegdy stated that "the events of this year have allowed us the time to take pause, examine our business with a new lens and take some immediate action."

He added that they're using the temporary shutdown as an "opportunity to offer all of this season's showrunners the chance to enrich their team with an additional diverse writer at any level." While he admits that it's "not the solution by any means, but it is something we can do right now to take a positive step."

Thanks to Christian Long.

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