Production on the Elliot Stabler spin-off, Law & Order: Organized Crime, hasn't even begun, but star Christopher Meloni is already sharing one piece of exciting news: Fans can expect Stabler and his former partner Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) to likely reunite in crossover episodes between Organized Crime and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
"It just has to be," Meloni told the New York Post. "Benson and Stabler are inextricably linked, locked and connected. I think there is truly and deeply a worthwhile, inherent drama in exploring that relationship and the complexity of how Stabler left — the unresolved emotions both characters feel and how the fans feel."
When Meloni opted not to return after SVU's 12th season, his character was written out of the show, with Stabler retiring from the force off-screen and never receiving a proper goodbye. Organized Crime, which is currently set to premiere on NBC this fall, will follow Stabler returning to the NYPD after suffering "a devastating personal loss."
While Stabler has been referenced a handful of times on SVU in the years since, Organized Crime will be the first time Meloni has reprised the role since his 2011 exit. And it sounds like Meloni is just as excited as fans are by the opportunity to address Stabler's abrupt exit and the resulting lack of closure in the detective's relationships — particularly with Benson.
"How my character left was really unsatisfying, I think," Meloni said. "It almost feels that we won't do one or two [crossover] episodes and move on our merry way."
"I just think there will always be possibilities there," he added. "People will always be hungry to see how we interact and how that dynamic has changed."
Law & Order: Organized Crime will air Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC this fall.