Benson and Stabler are back! On Friday, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay and series alum Christopher Meloni shared photos from the set of the long-running crime procedural. The photos tease a long-awaited reunion for the stars and their respective characters. Hargitay, who plays Commanding Officer Olivia Benson, has been a lead on the Dick Wolf series since it premiered all the way back in 1999. Meloni starred opposite Hargitay as Benson’s partner, Detective Elliot Stabler, from the series premiere through Season 12.
All the way back in March 2020, we learned Meloni would be getting his own Stabler spinoff series. The 13-episode series, titled Law & Order: Organized Crime, would follow Stabler as he led an organized crime team within the NYPD. With Stabler poised to return to the NYPD, it was expected that Meloni would appear early on in Season 22 in an effort to bring his character back into the Law & Order universe. However, showrunner Warren Leight confirmed (via Twitter) delays around Meloni‘s return.
Now, it appears an opportunity to reintroduce Stabler on SVU has been figured out and Meloni is currently filming it with Hargitay. On Friday, Meloni and Hargitay shared photos of them together — and socially distanced — while on set in between takes. Meloni‘s Instagram photo showed the longtime co-stars and actual best friends having a chill time, writing, “We are a little bit closer.” Over on Hargitay‘s Instagram page, she shared a photo of her and Meloni, smiling for the camera and captioning the photo with, “Now even closer,” and using the hashtag “#EO” which one might guess stands for “Elliot [and] Olivia.”
Over the years, Meloni and Hargitay‘s characters have become a beloved platonic partnership on television. While Stabler is an upstanding blue-collar family man who burns hot, Olivia is the cool and collected one with a quietly passionate commitment to her work. Together, they’re an unstoppable duo who, in this humble fan’s opinion, are two of the best detectives to ever work for the Special Victims Unit. Seeing Hargitay and Meloni back on set together is a sweet, sweet hit of nostalgia that will only increase excitement among longtime fans who are keen to find out what is in store for this duo in Season 22.
Air dates for Meloni‘s SVU Season 22 return episode and Law & Order: Organized Crime have not yet been announced. Until then, check out Meloni and Hargitay‘s Season 22 set photos below.