UPDATE: Law & Order: Organized Crime, the new spin-off featuring the return of Christopher Meloni as detective Elliot Stabler, will premiere on NBC this fall. Per a press release from NBC, the show will focus on Stabler’s return to the NYPD after “a devastating personal loss” and follow his “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.” The announcement notably comes amid growing pushback against police procedurals as part of a larger debate on policing in the United States, with many pointing out how television programs like Law & Order function as a kind of “copaganda.” While it’s unclear to what extent Law & Order: Organized Crime will respond to these issues, the press release did state that, in the show, Stabler will confront a “city and police department [that] have changed dramatically in the decade he’s been away” and that he will have to “adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning.”
Meloni played Stabler for the first 12 seasons of SVU, forming one of the most popular detective duos on television with Mariska Hargitay, who continues to star on the show as Olivia Benson. In 2006, Meloni earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for playing Stabler.
While Stabler didn’t fully conform to the “bad cop” archetype, the character often took a classic, hard-nosed approach to police work and was frequently forced to grapple with his anger issues. At the end of Season 12, Stabler’s decision to “retire” from the NYPD is prompted by his involvement in yet another shootout. While an internal review clears him of any wrongdoing, Stabler chooses to leave the force partly because of the traumatizing event, and partly because he doesn’t want to submit to the rigorous counseling required to earn his badge back.
As for the new show, there are few details available — only that it will center around the organized crime division — so at the moment it’s unclear how or why Stabler chooses to return to the NYPD. A showrunner has also yet to be selected for the series, though Wolf will execute produce alongside Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski. The new show is reportedly the first to emerge after Wolf inked a new five-year multi-platform deal with Universal Television last month.
Since leaving SVU in 2011, Meloni has taken on array of roles, popping up in shows like True Blood, Surviving Jack, Veep, Underground and The Handmaid’s Tale, while he’s also reprised his role as the Vietnam vet/summer camp chef in the two Wet Hot American Summer reboots.