Nine years after abruptly leaving Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and breaking the central dynamic that made that show so good in the first place (every detective represented an emotional reaction that one might have to a horrible crime and it was really clever!), Christopher Meloni is returning to the Dick Wolf universe—and we don’t mean he landed a recurring role in one of the Chicago shows or something. He’s actually coming back as Elliot Stabler, his SVU character, for a solo spin-off. According to Deadline, NBC has ordered 13 episodes of the unnamed Stabler show, which will be about him running an NYPD unit dedicated to fighting organized crime. In other words, Stabler is coming out of retirement to take on the mob, which sounds perfect.
Deadline doesn’t know if the series will have the Law & Order branding, which is a little odd, but considering how often SVU is just identified as SVU and not Law & Order: SVU, this would be a good opportunity to reiterate that the Dick Wolf universe isn’t defined by the Law & Order name (since the Chicago shows are technically part of the same world, they’re just in Chicago instead of New York). Either way, Deadline does note that setting this series in New York will mean it’ll be very easy to have Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson stop by from time to time, possibly in a big episode after The Super Bowl or when NBC gets desperate for ratings during sweeps week. It would obviously take some grim story about the mafia hurting women and/or children to get them together, but damn it would be sweet to see Benson pull Stabler back as he tries to choke out some scumbag again. They were such good friends.
The show will be produced by Dick Wolf, obviously, and Deadline believes that former Chicago P.D. boss Matt Olmstead might be the head writer and showrunner.