Law & Order: OC Star Chris Meloni Talks "Evolved" Stabler, SVU Reunion
A little more than a week after Christopher Meloni (Happy!) and Mariska Hargitay (Benson) caused a deep fracture along the Internet after posting an image together on Instagram teasing a reunion between the Law & Order: SVU duo ahead of Meloni fronting his own L&O spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime. In the new series from franchise creator Dick Wolf, Meloni's Stabler looks to find a sense of balance after a "devastating personal loss" while putting together a "new elite task force" and learning to adjust to a justice system that's changed in the past ten years.
Meloni is set to appear in the season 22 premiere of SVU ahead of starting on his own series, though the production shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic scrubbed the introduction of his family in the season 21 finale. How Stabler's presence in the SVU season opener still remains to be seen, but that won't stop Meloni from discussing Organized Crime during an interview on the Variety After-Show. Revealing that "they just came out of the blue with a new show" when he was only expecting a multi-episode arc to wrap Stabler's storyline, Meloni was more than willing to stay a little longer in Stabler's world: "I think I maybe wanted to be less of a journeyman or a nomad because I've been doing that. It's been great…but after a while you're like, 'Let's look for a home base again for a while."
While Meloni believes Stabler has a strong sense of his faults as well as justice, he also knows that society's views on law enforcement have changed since Stabler was back in the precinct full time: "I think he was a guy on the right side of justice. Nowadays that's commendable, but you can't use that as an excuse to go outside the boundaries just because you think my cause is the just cause because these lines have been — not blurring — they have been broken and people are fed up."
This is why Meloni believes it will be a different Stabler that viewers are introduced to when they see him- especially when they see him reunited with Benson. Meloni had this to say when he appeared on The Talk: "There are a lot of unanswered questions about how he left, why the silence vis-à-vis Olivia Benson. I think, in real terms, society, and what we are dealing with in society, has changed dramatically. It's just changed. So, I think you have to address that. And, I think the person Elliot was… I think we all evolved. I think all those things are going to be put into play when you see his return."
"Law & Order: Organized Crime" features Christopher Meloni reprising his beloved "Law & Order: SVU" role as Elliot Stabler, who returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss. However, the city and police department have changed dramatically in the decade he's been away, and he must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning. Throughout the series, we will 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.
Wolf executive produces Law & Order: Organized Crime alongside Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski for Wolf Entertainment and Universal TV, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios. Former Chicago P.D. showrunner Matt Olmstead writes and serves as showrunner.