Plans for two “prominent” Law & Order: SVU alums to return in next month’s finale were scrapped when the coronavirus pandemic brought an early halt to Season 21. TVLine can now reveal the pair’s identities.
Last month, showrunner Warren Leight confirmed that production was shut down before completion of this season’s final four episodes. He then revealed that the last of those four episodes, aka the finale, would have featured “the return of two prominent characters from earlier seasons,” adding, “We’re sorry not to get to make that episode.”
When news broke days later that franchise MVP Christopher Meloni had inked a deal to reprise his signature role of Elliot Stabler in a spinoff series at NBC, fans naturally speculated that he was likely one of the two vets slated to return (perhaps to set the stage for the new series). Although Leigh shot down that theory on social media, the EP now tells TVLine exclusively that the speculation was not that far off.
“We were hoping to bring back [Stabler]’s wife and troubled son — in part to tee up his return,” Leight shares. Leight is definitely referring to Kathy Stabler, played by Isabel Gillies; whether he meant to bring back Dickie, who’d now be in his mid-20s, or Elliot Jr., who’d be a teenager, is unclear. (Our money’s on Dickie, who was always kind of a mess.)
Also unclear: whether the duo’s return will be folded into one of next season’s episodes. In the meantime, as Leight previously hinted, Episode 20 will now serve as the new, makeshift season finale (airing April 23), and it will be “oddly fine in that slot,” he noted, since it boasts “return performances from many perps and [victims] we’ve met this season.”