With less than three weeks to go until Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler and Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson reunite during a huge "Law & Order: SVU/Organized Crime" crossover event on April 1, viewers are learning a little more about the road that led Stabler back to the "L&O universe" (and Meloni to his own Dick Wolf-produced spinoff series). In previous teasers, we see Stabler speaking with someone about why he's been gone for so long without touching base with anyone. Now, we see who he's speaking with- and it ties in nicely to an SVU tease from a week or two ago.
Here's a look at Stabler explaining to Ice-T's Fin why it's been so long since he touched base with the gang- and maybe the reason why Fin dropped that ten-ton hint to Benson about how she never knows who may show up for her award ceremony:
Here's a look at the previously-released teaser for the big "'Law & Order: SVU/Organized Crime' Crossover Event" focusing on the backstory leading up to the reunion- of particular interest is the focus on how Benson thought she knew Stabler only to be shell-shocked to learn of his sudden departure. Clearly, the two have some decade-old issues to deal with:
Law & Order: Organized Crime features Meloni returning to his Law & Order: SVU role as Elliot Stabler, rejoining 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, viewers 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.
Joining Meloni on the series are Dylan McDermott (The Practice, American Horror Story), Tamara Taylor (Bones, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Danielle Moné Truitt (Deputy), and Ainsley Seiger (American Waste) as series regulars, with Charlotte Sullivan (Rookie Blue), Nick Creegan (David Makes Man), Ben Chase (The Last Thing He Wanted), and Jaylin Fletcher (Snowpiercer) in recurring roles. Dick Wolf executive produces along with showrunner Ilene Chaiken, Terry Miller, Fred Berner, Arthur W. Forney, and Peter Jankowski.
During an interview on the Variety After-Show in July 2020, Meloni had the opportunity to discuss the spinoff series- including how it came about. 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 on SVU, 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."