It’s been precisely a decade since Elliot Stabler signed off from his last change at “Law & Order: special Victims Unit,” happen an abrupt end to among the longest-running will-they/won’t-they relationships in TV history.

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

Details of the news series have been carefully guarded — no episodes were made obtainable for movie critics ahead of the premiere — but the official logline for “Organized Crime” describes that Stabler returns to the NYPD after ~ “a devastating personal loss,” rejoining the police department throughout “a minute of reckoning” in the criminal justice system.


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

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

So go they ever, girlfriend know, acquire together?

No. However for 12 seasons, “SVU” was a standard two-hander, sustained by the chemistry between Stabler, a challenging guy, ex-Marine and father the five, and Benson, a compassionate detective and solitary woman seemingly married to she job.


The writers of the display knew exactly what they were doing, teasing viewers by concocting storylines that compelled Stabler and Benson come pose as a swinging married couple or a sex worker and also John. There was also Stabler’s marriage, which was not specifically rock solid: he and also his wife, Kathy (Isabel Gillies), wed in ~ 17, separated for a time and nearly got divorced, however reconciled once she unexpectedly became pregnant.


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Why walk Meloni leaving “SVU”? After much more than 270 episodes and 12 seasons, Stabler was written off the show — no for an imaginative reasons but due to the fact that Meloni and NBC reached an impasse end his contract negotiations. Meloni recently defined his exit as “inelegant” but stayed close through Hargitay, occasionally setup the web on fire by showing up on she Instagram account. Since leaving “SVU” 10 year ago, he’s end up being Peak TV’s favorite zaddy, starring in mirrors such together “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Pose,” “Happy!” and “Harley Quinn.”

How did they create Stabler off the show?

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

In Stabler’s last illustration — the Season 12 finale “Smoked” — he and also Benson room investigating the killing of a rape victim that was shooting to death in prior of her teenage daughter a week prior to the attempt of her accused rapist was collection to begin. The daughter later opens fire in ~ the police station, utilizing a total purchased ~ above the street and also killing a variety of bystanders. Stabler shoot her. In the final shot the the episode, that looks over at Benson together the girl bleeds out on the employee room floor.


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Really, that was it? No more Stabler?

Pretty much!

In the Season 13 premiere, “Scorched Earth,” we learn that Stabler is on governmental leave pending a evaluation of the shooting. Capt. Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) speak Benson the Stabler will need to jump v “a most hoops” if he wants to keep his job, consisting of a psychiatric evaluation and anger monitoring training. Cragen later on tells Benson, who’d been trying to call Stabler, the her longtime partner has actually resigned. She goes to the interrogation room and also weeps. There have been a few loaded referrals to Benson’s “old partner” because then, however otherwise very tiny closure.


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Dean Winters, indigenous left, Dann Florek, Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Michelle Hurd and Richard Belzer in the very first season the “Law & Order: distinct Victims Unit.”
How has actually Benson done since then?

Just fine, say thanks to you!

At the moment Stabler was composed out the “SVU,” numerous wondered if the show can survive there is no the Benson-Stabler partnership, but it has — and also then some. Now in its 22nd season, “SVU” is the longest-running primetime live-action series in American TV history and has appreciated renewed relevance in the wake of #MeToo.

Since Stabler walked out the precinct door, the display reinvented itself through a renewed emphasis on Benson who, no longer shackled to her work spouse, had the an are to grow as a personality — pursuing mature romantic relationships, adopting a child, and getting promoted to captain.

This gift a TV show, she’s additionally faced some unusually dramatic challenges, choose the time she to be kidnapped and tortured by a serial rapist.

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“We to be nervous,” executive producer Julie Martin called the time in 2018, referring to Meloni’s departure. “It really shifted the paradigm of the show. Yet it to be exciting, especially for a woman writer to it is in like, ‘OK, now we really have actually a single female lead.’”


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