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Chris Meloni Explains Why He Didn't Return To 'Law & Order' Before Now

Elizabeth Spina 24 Jul 2020

If you have not already heard the only good news of 2020, here it is: Chris Meloni is returning to Law & Order SVU to reprise his role as Elliot Stabler in season 22, and I have literally never been more excited for anything in my entire life.

He recently opened up in an interview, explaining why he hadn't decided to return to the show sooner.

In an episode of The Law & Order: SVU Podcast, a few months ago, showrunner Warren Leight revealed that Chris Meloni would be returning to the show for the upcoming season, and it's literally the only positive news I've heard so far this year.

NBC

“It’s pretty clear that Elliot will be in the SVU season opener,” Warren said.

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"I think that much I know. Whether we get to see his family as well remains to be seen," he added.

NBC

"We had heard distant thunder about Chris Meloni coming back in the fall and we were going to lay a little groundwork for that."

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"We were going to see [wife] Kathy Stabler come back very upset," he continued.

Instagram | @chris_meloni

"Her son had been rolled by a team of ne'er-do-wells and may have been drugged, and we were going to revisit [Benson’s half-brother] Simon's seeming overdose and we were going to get to know the stresses on the Stablers – what had happened to the Stabler family after Elliot both left SVU and apparently left them."

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"We were just going to lay some groundwork down in anticipation of Elliot's return of course in his own series."

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It was also announced back in March that Chris would also be reprising his role, Elliot Stabler, in a brand new spin-off series.

So, we have a lot to look forward to! We'll be seeing a lot more of Elliot Stabler!

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In an interview with the New York Post, he revealed that he's looking forward to seeing how his and Mariska Hargitay’s character's "inherent drama" unfolds — as am I!

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Because, if you recall, they didn't exactly leave things on ideal terms when he left 10 years ago...

He revealed that he believes there is a very important connection between those two characters.

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“Benson and Stabler are inextricably linked, locked and connected,” he said. "I think there is truly and deeply a worthwhile, inherent drama in exploring that relationship".

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"And the complexity of how Stabler left — the unresolved emotions both characters feel and how the fans feel.”

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“How my character left was really unsatisfying, I think."

Giphy | SVU

“It almost feels that we won’t do one or two [crossover] episodes and move on our merry way," he continued. "I just think there will always be possibilities there."

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"People will always be hungry to see how we interact and how that dynamic has changed," he said. “I left with zero animosity, but I did leave clearly and open-eyed in going forward and finding new adventures."

Instagram | @chris_meloni

"I was like, 'That’s what I want to do, keep moving forward.’"

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"I had done the ‘Law & Order’ way of storytelling, which they do really well, and I was interested in telling stories from a different angle," he explained. "Whether comedic or inhabiting a new world or doing it on different platforms.”

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He revealed that the show's creator, Dick Wolf, contacted him personally to ask him to return, and it was an offer he couldn't refuse.

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"I never thought this was going to happen, but the circumstances for me changed,” he said. “So, ‘yes’ became the correct answer.”

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But in a more recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Chris revealed why he didn't return to Law & Order SVU sooner.

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"A certain piece just fell into place,” he said.

NBC

"For me, there were just personal things that I was like, ‘You know, now is a good time.’ That was it. There was nothing secret."

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"It just was effortlessly correct.”

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“It's one of these [things where] I felt like I believed in the stars and all that… I’d go, ‘Oh, the stars are telling me you know but because it was just right,'" he said.

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He also revealed how excited he is about giving fans the Benson-Stabler reunion they've been dying for.

NBC

“[SVU] gave birth to Mariska and Meloni, and Benson and Stabler. So we’re kind of inextricably linked and connected in that way,” he said.

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“Beyond that, we’re very good friends. I think we value each other.”

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"We just pick it up right where we left off and we’ve said it’s like we don’t have this relationship with anyone else… It’s unique".

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"It’s full of laughter, she’s full of love. We just kind of fall seamlessly into that place every time we see each other," he added.

Instagram | @chrismeloni

Let us know what you think of Chris Meloni's recent interview, revealing why he didn't return to Law & Order until now, in the comments below!

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