When Is Chris Meloni Returning as Elliot Stabler?

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) announced that this season would see Elliot Stabler (played by Chris Meloni) return for a crossover that would launch a new NBC spin-off led by the agent titled Law & Order: Organized Crime. Originally scheduled for September 2020, the coronavirus led to Organized Crime being delayed, meaning that Stabler’s return to SVU has also been put off.

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni that are standing in a room: Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni will be reunited on an upcoming episode of 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni will be reunited on an upcoming episode of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’

However, it could be coming very soon. On December 2, SVU showrunner Warren Leight released a screenshot from a Zoom read-through of an upcoming episode. Alongside regular cast members like Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T, the image featured Meloni, hiding in plain sight in a very green shirt.

If the cast is doing a read-through of the Stabler episode, that seems to suggest that they will be filming it very soon, and based on previous time scales, we can have a guess at when the episode will air.

Per Leight’s Twitter, meetings about the first episode of Law & Order: SVU Season 22 began at the start of September, with filming beginning on September 14 and the episode airing on NBC on November 12.

As such, a rough time frame for the Stabler episode might suggest that filming will start in mid-December, and then air in February. However, the show’s Christmas break could push the episode, and by extension the launch of Organized Crime, into the spring of 2021, most likely March. In a preview of what is to come in early 2021 on SVU, Entertainment Tonight confirmed that Organized Crime (and the Stabler SVU crossover) would air in the spring.

Law and Order SVU Season 22 Trailer



When NBC announced its January line-up, Organized Crime was conspicuously absent from the Thursday night schedule, where it was meant to air right after SVU at 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CT. In its place was Deadline, which is presumably keeping the slot warm until Organized Crime is ready to air.

When that will be, however, is not announced, though if it is to air in 2021 it will have to be while SVU is still running, in order for the show to transition from one to the other with Meloni’s SVU guest spot. This means that fans are guaranteed to see the show before May unless there is a major production delay.

There have been some difficulties behind the scenes already. In October, showrunner Matt Olmstead left the series citing creative differences, which led to Organized Crime being taken off the fall schedule. Then, in June, the show lost writer Craig Gore after he was fired for a Facebook post where he threatened to “light motherf******s up” after there were reports of looting in Los Angeles.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 22 airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. CT on NBC.

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