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Christopher Meloni confirms Mariska Hargitay will appear on 'SVU' spinoff

Don't expect her to regularly appear, but it does seem Benson and Stabler will share some more screen time.
/ Source: TODAY

Yet more arresting news for "Law & Order: SVU" fans: Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler are going to be on screen again together!

While sitting down for a virtual interview on Wednesday's "The Talk," Christopher Meloni (who played Stabler on "SVU" from 1999 to 2011) told the show's hosts that Mariska Hargitay (who's been playing Benson since 1999) will definitely be appearing on his new "SVU" spinoff, "Law & Order: Organized Crime."

Co-host Sharon Osbourne asked Meloni if Hargitay would be reprising her role on his show, and he said, "Oh, yeah!"

But don't expect her to be a regular. "How much?" he continued. "I don't know, because I hear she has her own day job. I think whatever we can slice away, whatever the writers come up with. I think we will both be looking forward to playing with each other in each other's sandbox."

Benson and Stabler were one of those great on-camera pairings, detectives in the Special Victims Unit of the NYPD, that had audiences wondering if they might ever go from being more than just partners. Both could get highly emotional about their jobs, but Stabler tended to have a temper that ultimately drove him from the force.

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni
Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler and Mariska Hargitay as (then) Det. Olivia Benson from "Law and Order: SVU" in 2003.Alamy Stock Photo

But earlier this year, word leaked that Meloni — who's since had success on shows like "Happy" and "The Handmaid's Tale" — was ready to sign up again with the "SVU" universe. "Organized Crime" has a 13-season order, and is expected to begin airing later this fall, but that remains in the air due to production shutdowns over COVID-19.

During his visit to "The Talk," Meloni was asked if his character has changed at all.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "I mean, you have to."

He added, "There are a lot of unanswered questions about how he left, why the silence vis-à-vis Olivia Benson. I think, in real terms, society, and what we are dealing with in society, has changed dramatically. So, I think you have to address that. And, I think the person Elliot was, I think we all evolve. I think all those things are going to be put into play."

"SVU" showrunner Warren Leight has said on the "Law & Order: SVU Podcast" that Meloni will also appear on "SVU" before his spinoff series begins, and the whole "L&O" franchise is known for its crossovers, not only within its own universe, but with series like "Homicide: Life on the Streets."

Image: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Season 5
Benson and Stabler were a powerful duo on the show from 1999-2011.NBC

All we have to wait for now is for production to start up again, which Meloni acknowledged recently on SiriusXM's "The Jess Cagle Show."

"We're in the middle of a pandemic production. You know, everything is just insane," he said on the show. "You have to service a lot of masters right now, just to make sure everybody is safe, right? What's the new norm for shooting?

"So that is the long way of saying the writers are breaking rocks, trying to figure out the arc of the story, who the characters are and how they interact, and I have yet to see a script," he added, then joked, "I'm working on my tan, OK?"