"Law & Order" Spinoff: Christopher Meloni Returning as Elliot Stabler

Maybe it was his turn as Nick Sax in SYFY series Happy! or voicing Commissioner Gordon on DC Universe's adult-animated Harley Quinn series that did made the difference. Whatever the reason, fans of Dick Wolf's "Law & Order" franchise learned on Tuesday that Christopher Meloni (Underground, The Handmaid's Tale) is set to reprise his Law & Order: SVU role as Elliot Stabler in a new L&O spinoff drama for NBC. With the focus set to be on Stabler and the NYPD organized crime unit he leads, the series marks the first one resulting from Wolf's five-year, nine-figure, multi-platform deal with Universal Television .

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While his character was written off of L&O: SVU via retirement, it was done in a manner that kept the door more than slightly ajar for Stabler's return. With the series set in New York City, it also opens up the opportunity for some crossover action – in particular, a ratings-grabbing reunion between two of the best partners ever on television: Stabler and Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay).

While more details on the series will be forthcoming – obviously, production matters are sketchy with the coronavirus pandemic creating problems with productions across the pop culture landscape. Wolf is set to executive produce alongside Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski for Wolf Entertainment and Universal TV, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios. Deadline Hollywood reports that former Chicago P.D. showrunner Matt Olmstead is being considered for writer-showrunner.

Wolf's Law & Order: SVU doesn't seem to be showing any signs of slwoing down. Last season scored as television's most-watched series, with more than 150 billion minutes viewed across NBC, USA and Ion. For the 2019-20 season to date, the series holds the top spot in its Thursday 10-11 p.m. timeslot versus regular ABC and CBS competition in the Adults 18-49 demo and in total viewers. In LIVE+7 ratings, SVU is averaging a 1.5 rating in the Adults 18-49 demo and 6.5 million viewers overall. Adding digital and linear delayed viewing into the mix, and the show's season premiere episode climbed to a 3.9 in the Adults 18-49 demo – and 11.1 million viewers overall.

Deadline Hollywood (exclusive)

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.