Christopher Meloni's return to the Law & Order franchise a decade after he left took many fans by surprise.
He didn't leave on the best of terms, exiting Law & Order: SVU due to a contract dispute, which, in turn, left fans wondering what became of Elliot Stabler.
Meloni opened up about his controversial exit in a new interview with People Magazine.
“For me, it was about how things fell out — and the word I’ll use is that it was inelegant,” Meloni revealed.
“At the end of the day, how it was handled was, ‘Okay, see you later.’ So I went, ‘That’s fine. We’re all big boys and girls here. See you later.’ And I was off on new adventures and doing what I wanted to do.”
The good news is that Meloni and co-star Mariska Hargitay remained connected during the 10 years he was away from the franchise.
Thankfully, they will be reunited on-screen later this year when Law & Order: Organized Crime debuts.
The series will follow Elliot Stabler, who returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss.
However, the city and police department have changed dramatically in the decade he's been away, and he must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning.
Throughout the series, we will follow Stabler's journey to find absolution and rebuild his life while leading a new elite task force that is taking apart the city's most powerful criminal syndicates one by one.
Given that there was no on-screen goodbye between Benson and Elliot, there are a lot of unanswered questions.
"There are a lot of unanswered questions about how he left, why the silence vis-à-vis Olivia Benson," Christopher revealed on The Talk last summer.
"I think, in real terms, society, and what we are dealing with in society, has changed dramatically. So, I think you have to address that. And, I think the person Elliot was, I think we all evolve. I think all those things are going to be put into play."
Law & Order: SVU will remain in the 9/8c time-period, but its Christopher Meloni-led spinoff, Organized Crime, will launch April 1, in the 10/9c slot.
This night also marks a crossover between the two shows, so fans will have many Elliot-Olivia scenes to look forward to.
The supporting cast includes Tamara Taylor and Dylan McDermott.
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Remember, you can watch Law & Order: SVU online right here via TV Fanatic.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.