“We are a little bit closer,” Meloni, 59, captioned a black-and-white Instagram selfie with Hargitay, 56, on Friday, January 15. The actress later shared a slightly more smiley and colorful photo on her own account, writing: “Now even closer…” In both shots, the costars kept their distance amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Man of Steel star played Detective Elliot Stabler for 12 seasons from 1999 to 2011. Hargitay, for her part, has portrayed Captain Olivia Benson since the NBC drama’s premiere.
News broke in March 2020 that Meloni was set to reprise his role in a spinoff, titled Law & Order: Organized Crime. SVU will first detail the events leading up to the new series.
“We were just going to lay some groundwork down in anticipation of Elliot’s return of course in his own series,” SVU showrunner Warren Leight said on the “Law & Order Podcast” in March 2020. “We had the sense that the first episode of next year for SVU was going to bring Elliot back, so we were going to foreshadow that and explain a little more what happened to Simon.”
The spinoff was originally scheduled to debut in fall 2020, but the network announced in August 2020 that it would be held for 2021. Therefore, Meloni’s return was pushed back from the SVU premiere to later in the season.
When Organized Crime does debut, fans can expect to see cameos from Hargitay. “How much? I don’t know because I hear she has her own day job,” Meloni joked on The Talk in July 2020. “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.”
Earlier this month, Leight exclusively told Us Weekly that the writers hoped Rick Fox would return to SVU in season 22, but “every time we make a plan, the COVID Gods laugh.” He added: “We still hope to see him back on our stage. In the meantime, fans will have to make do with Raúl [Esparza], Chris Meloni, Elizabeth Marvel, John Waters, Tamara Tunie, Wentworth Miller and a few other surprise returnees.”
Law & Order: SVU airs on NBC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.