Well, this is surprising news: The return, after almost a decade, of Christopher Meloni’s beloved Detective Stabler from Law & Order: SVU. But he’s not going back to SVU.

That’s according to Deadline, who reports that NBC has ordered 13 episodes of a new series from Law & Order grand poobah Dick Wolf starring Meloni as Elliot Stabler. Instead of sex crimes, it looks like, based on their description, that the character will be taking down the mob this time...

The drama, which marks the actor’s return to Wolf World, revolves around the NYPD organized crime unit led by Stabler (Meloni). It is the first show to come out of the massive new five-year, nine-figure, multi-platform deal Wolf signed with Universal Television last month, which includes multiple series commitments.

Meloni departed the longest-running Law & Order series after its 12th season. That was nine seasons ago, with the show still going strong into 2020. (Meloni’s former co-lead, Mariska Hargitay, has remained with the show through its entire run.) Deadline says that the new show is set in New York, which could allow “for potential seamless crossovers with SVU, also set at an NYPD unit, and for Benson-Stabler reunions.” SVU fans are going to flip out about that part. The show will have to find a way to explain Stabler’s return to policing; his departure from Law & Order was explained by his retirement from the NYPD. 

SVU was still in the middle of producing its 21st season when the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping the world. Only 20 of 24 ordered episodes were filmed before production was shut down. But maybe this Stabler show will fill the void in our hearts whenever it premieres on TV.

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