Even though there's still a smidge more than a month to go until NBC's big "Law & Order" crossover event brings Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler back to Olivia Benson's (Mariska Hargitay) Law & Order: SVU, did you really think they were going to wait to start dropping ten-ton clues? On April 1, Stabler and Benson reunite on the series that started it all for the previous partners before Stabler heads off to the Dick Wolf-produced spinoff series Law & Order: Organized Crime. After years away, Stabler looks to rebuild both his life and career with a new unit and a new purpose- and now thanks to Ice-T's Fin, viewers are getting a clue to one of the reasons why Stabler's heading home.
In the clip below from SVU, Benson is questioning whether she deserves NYPD Women in Law Enforcement Award in light of everything that's gone on. Thankfully, Fin's on hand to remind her why she's deserving it, now more than ever- before that ten-ton tease about not knowing "who might show up" (that it would happen in a month and that puts it at the date of the crossover event was an especially nice touch):
Here's a look at the newest 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."