Mariska Hargitay Just Welcomed Chris Meloni Back to the 'SVU' Universe

Hannah Jeon
Mariska Hargitay Just Welcomed Chris Meloni Back to the 'SVU' Universe

From Good Housekeeping

  • After the recent news that Christopher Meloni would be returning as Elliot Stabler in a new Law and Order: SVU spinoff series, former co-star Mariska Hargitay took to Instagram on Thursday to congratulate him for his return to the role.
  • The actor made sure to respond to Mariska's post in the comments, thanking her for the congratulations and giving a nod to their 12 years of co-starring together on the popular crime drama.
  • In response to the sweet interaction between the former co-stars, fans of SVU flooded the comments with excited reactions over the news of Elliot Stabler's long-awaited return.

Detective Elliot Stabler is returning to the NYPD after nearly ten years — and apparently there's no one happier to see him back than his old partner Olivia Benson!

Following the news on Tuesday that Christopher Meloni would be reprising his original character in a new Law and Order: SVU spinoff series on NBC, his former co-star Mariska Hargitay (a.k.a. Olivia Benson) made sure to welcome him back with open arms. The actress took to Instagram on Thursday — the day of Chris's birthday — to post a special message for the star, wishing him a happy birthday and congratulating him for his return to the beloved role.

"Happy Birthday @chris_meloni," she wrote. "Congratulations and welcome home Elliot Stabler #It'sBeenAWhile #MissedYou #ElliotStabler."

The now 59-year-old actor then responded to Mariska in the comments, thanking her for the birthday wishes — but also making sure to give a warm nod to their 12 years of working together on the NBC crime-drama show. "Saddle up, gurl, we ridin agin [sic]," he wrote back. "And TY for all the BD wishes."

Photo credit: Instagram/Mariska Hargitay

Needless to say, thousands of SVU fans reacted to the Instagram post with unbridled enthusiasm, flooding the comments with excited responses over the co-stars' sweet interaction as well as with birthday wishes for Chris. The news of Chris's return as Elliot Stabler was especially a source of excitement for dedicated viewers of SVU, who have long been calling for the return of the beloved character ever since Chris departed the show in 2011 (his contract negotiations fell through after season 12). Meanwhile, Mariska has remained as Olivia Benson on the NBC series, which is currently in its record-breaking 21st season since it premiered in 1999.

"THIS IS ALL I'VE WANTED," one excited fan commented, following with a crying face emoji. "The best news of 2020," another wrote. "I'm so freaking happy!"

Photo credit: Instagram/Mariska Hargitay

Of course, despite the news of Elliot Stabler's return in the new spinoff, it's still unclear as to whether there actually is an on-screen Benson-Stabler reunion in the works; though a crossover between the two shows is certainly possible, all we know about the show so far is that it will follow Stabler as he leads an organized crime unit of the NYPD, meaning he'll be coming back from his sudden retirement from when we saw him last in SVU's season 12. According to Deadline, the 13-episode series will also be executive produced by SVU creator Dick Wolf which, of course, gives good potential for the show to be branded as part of the Law & Order franchise.

While we wait for more details on Elliot Stabler's upcoming spinoff, though, we're certainly taking Chris' and Mariska's sweet interaction on Instagram as a sign that a Benson-Stabler reunion is very possible — those two are fated to be partners-in-solving-crime forever, after all!

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