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SVU: Chris Meloni's Return as Stabler Is Underway — See First Photo

law-and-order-chris-meloni-stabler-return-photo-table-read

We love it when a squad comes together.

Chris Meloni’s return as Eliot Stabler is one step closer to happening, as evidenced by a photo that Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight tweeted Wednesday.

The shot, taken during a virtual table read, shows Meloni (third row down, green shirt) among the show’s fictional Special Victims Unit squad — including Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, Peter Scanavino, Kelli Giddish and Jamie Gray Hyder — and creative team, including Leight and series creator Dick Wolf. “Well, we had a pretty good read-thru,” Leight wrote.

As previously reported, Meloni will return to the Law & Order franchise in a Stabler-centric new series subtitled Organized CrimeHis comeback is expected to include his first appearance on Law & Order: SVU since exiting the show nearly a decade ago. (Meloni departed SVU after negotiations related to his contract broke down at the end of Season 12. When Season 13 started, Stabler had retired from the police force without saying anything to his tight-knit co-workers; Olivia learned the devastating news at the same time as the audience did.)

But before you chung-chunggggg! yourself into paroxysms of joy: TVLine hears that neither a premiere date for Organized Crime, nor an airdate for the SVU episode that launches it, have been set yet. As you’ll recall, the Meloni-led spinoff was not listed on NBC’s recently released midseason schedule.

But photographic evidence that Liv and El are back in each other’s orbit — and one step closer to appearing on screen together — eases the sting of the schedule ambiguity a bit, no? So take a good look at the photo above, then hit the comments with your thoughts!