It’s been exactly a decade since Elliot Stabler signed turn off from his last shift at “Law & Order: one-of-a-kind Victims Unit,” happen an abrupt end to one of the longest-running will-they/won’t-they relationship in TV history.

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On Thursday, the erstwhile detective play by Christopher Meloni will return to NBC in a two-hour crossover event, reuniting v his former partner, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), top top “SVU” before spinning off right into his very own series, “Law & Order: arranged Crime.”

Details that the news collection have been closely guarded — no episodes to be made accessible for movie critics ahead of the premiere — yet the official logline for “Organized Crime” defines that Stabler returns to the NYPD after “a devastating personal loss,” rejoining the police department throughout “a minute of reckoning” in the criminal righteousness system.


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For committed fans that the record-breaking, seemingly unstoppable crime procedural, Stabler and Benson’s reunion is an event on par through a Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston reconciliation — something many have speculated about wildly, but few believed can happen outside the kingdom of their own fevered imaginations.

If it’s to be a while because you last binge-watched all 400-something illustration of “SVU” and also need a refresher, here’s a look earlier at the saga the Benson and Stabler.

So go they ever, friend know, gain together?

No. However for 12 seasons, “SVU” to be a standard two-hander, fueled by the chemistry between Stabler, a hard guy, ex-Marine and father the five, and also Benson, a compassionate detective and solitary woman watch married to her job.


The authors of the present knew precisely what they were doing, teasing viewers through concocting storylines that forced Stabler and Benson come pose together a swinging married pair or a sex worker and also John. Over there was also Stabler’s marriage, which to be not exactly rock solid: he and his wife, Kathy (Isabel Gillies), wed in ~ 17, separated for a time and nearly got divorced, however reconciled when she unexpectedly became pregnant.


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Why walk Meloni leaving “SVU”? After much more than 270 episodes and also 12 seasons, Stabler was created off the present — no for an imaginative reasons but since Meloni and also NBC reached an impasse over his contract negotiations. Meloni recently defined his departure as “inelegant” but stayed close v Hargitay, occasionally setup the web on fire by getting here on she Instagram account. Because leaving “SVU” 10 year ago, he’s come to be Peak TV’s favourite zaddy, certification in mirrors such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Pose,” “Happy!” and also “Harley Quinn.”

How go they write Stabler turn off the show?

Given exactly how seismic Stabler’s departure was because that the series and its dedicated audience, his bye is unceremonious — practically as if the producers to be holding out hope for a last-minute contract resolution the never involved fruition.

In Stabler’s last episode — the Season 12 finale “Smoked” — he and Benson are investigating the murder of a rape victim who was shoot to death in prior of she teenage daughter a week prior to the trial of her accused rapist was set to begin. The daughter later on opens fire at the police station, utilizing a total purchased ~ above the street and killing a variety of bystanders. Stabler shoot her. In the final shot the the episode, that looks over at Benson as the girl bleeds the end on the staff room floor.


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Really, the was it? No much more Stabler?

Pretty much!

In the Season 13 premiere, “Scorched Earth,” we find out that Stabler is on governmental leave pending a review of the shooting. Capt. Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) tells Benson the Stabler will have to jump with “a many hoops” if he wants to store his job, consisting of a psychiatric evaluation and also anger management training. Cragen later on tells Benson, who’d been trying to get in touch with Stabler, that her longtime partner has resigned. She goes to the interrogation room and weeps. There have been a few loaded references to Benson’s “old partner” since then, but otherwise very tiny closure.


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Dean Winters, from left, Dann Florek, Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Michelle Hurd and Richard Belzer in the first season the “Law & Order: special Victims Unit.”
How has Benson done due to the fact that then?

Just fine, thank you!

At the time Stabler was written out that “SVU,” many wondered if the show might survive there is no the Benson-Stabler partnership, yet it has actually — and then some. Currently in its 22nd season, “SVU” is the longest-running primetime live-action series in American TV background and has enjoyed renewed relevance in the wake up of #MeToo.

Since Stabler walked the end the precinct door, the show reinvented itself with a renewed focus on Benson who, no longer shackled to her occupational spouse, had the an are to prosper as a character — pursuing mature romantic relationships, adopting a child, and getting promoted to captain.

This gift a TV show, she’s likewise faced some unusually dramatic challenges, prefer the time she was kidnapped and also tortured through a serial rapist.

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“We to be nervous,” executive, management producer Julie Martin said the time in 2018, introduce to Meloni’s departure. “It yes, really shifted the paradigm the the show. Yet it to be exciting, specifically for a mrs writer to be like, ‘OK, currently we really have a solitary female lead.’”


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