Hang on just a little longer, Stabler fans!
Law & Order: Organized Crime, the long-awaited spinoff starring Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler, premieres on April 1.
NBC has been pretty tight-lipped about what's going to happen on the new series. But we're clear on what we hope occurs on the latest entry in the Law & Order franchise.
According to the spoiler video for the SVU crossover kickoff event on April 1, at least one thing that fans are eager for will happen during the pilot: Benson and Stabler will cross paths.
During one of the most talked-about clips in the series' 22-year run, Benson turns when Stabler calls her name.
What happens after that is anyone's guess.
But since the trailer also includes flashbacks of then-Captain Cragen telling Benson that Stabler quit without saying a word to her, maybe one of our other wishes will come true: an honest conversation between the former partners about Stabler's heartbreaking disappearance.
Stabler is also going to be dealing with a family tragedy, according to NBC. Most likely, either his wife or one of his children has died.
If Kathy Stabler has bitten the dust, then that paves the way forward for an eventual Benson/Stabler pairing.
Kathy was sometimes jealous of Stabler's relationship with his "work wife" and best friend, while Benson encouraged Stabler not to be stupid enough to let the job kill his marriage during tough times.
But considering how deeply Stabler loved his wife, it would be disrespectful for him to move on quickly if she has died, plus her death will likely fuel his return to active police duty.
Even if Stabler/Benson are end game, let's hope that it's a slow burn. I'd like them to repair their friendship and tentatively move toward each other if there is any romance between them.
We also need to know what Stabler has been up to for the past 12 years!
He was traumatized by the shooting in the police station that led to his walking away from SVU and hasn't been heard from since.
We want to know whether he just returned to the NYPD or if he'd transferred to Organized Crimes when he quit SVU.
And for many fans, the big question is why he never once tried to contact Benson, especially after the traumatic kidnapping she endured on Law & Order: SVU Season 15 Episode 1.
At that point in the series, Christopher Meloni was busy with other projects, so it was unlikely that Stabler would have turned up to help find and rescue Benson from William Lewis. But given their long, close friendship, many fans yearned for him to at least call her.
Stabler also has been absent while Benson adopted Noah and faced multiple threats to that adoption from both the Administration of Child Services and Noah's maternal grandmother, who arranged for him to be kidnapped so that she could take care of him.
Hopefully, we'll get closure on all aspects of Stabler's long absence so that we can move on.
In any case, SVU, and police work in general, have both changed a lot since Stabler last appeared on Law & Order: SVU Season 12 Episode 24.
Cragen and Munch have both retired, Benson is now in charge, and the only SVU detective Stabler would recognize beside her is Fin.
Christopher Meloni has already indicated that Stabler will be dealing with the changes in police culture, presumably including reining in his hot-headed nature.
If only they aired on the same network so that a crossover was possible, I'd love for Stabler to compare notes with Blue Bloods' Danny Reagan!
But there are plenty of opportunities for in-universe crossovers. And could Cragen and Munch getting mentions on Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 8 be foreshadowing that these old characters may turn up on Organized Crime?
Cragen was forced into retirement when he hit the upper age limit for cops, so if he appears, it's likely to be a catch-up at a coffee shop or restaurant.
But although Munch retired too, he is younger than Cragen -- could he show up to lend a hand to the Organized Crimes division?
John Munch is an iconic character at this point, having first appeared on Homicide: Life on the Street in the 90s before transferring to SVU for the first fifteen years of its run. That makes him one of the longest-running characters in crime drama history!
He's a popular character, too, whose wacky rants and conspiracy theories often proved prescient. It would be fascinating for him to get a 2021 reboot, considering the role social media and conspiracy theories have played in the US political climate.
Many fans are also clamoring for a Chicago PD crossover, and this may well happen.
Voight is someone else who has struggled with the new rules for cops, as he thrives on pushing the envelope and breaking the rules to get the bad guys.
He and Stabler might have a lot to talk about, and since organized crime bosses often have far-reaching tentacles, it would make sense for the NYPD and Chicago PD to join forces to break up mob activity affecting both cities.
Voight has worked with SVU before, too, so this would provide an opportunity for both Law & Order series to interact with the One Chicago characters.
Of course, the premise of the series requires Stabler to work on interesting cases involving organized crime!
He'll need a team of detectives to work with him (and butt heads with!).
Could SVU's Kat Tamin find Organized Crime to be a better fit for her?
She's impulsive and passionate about justice, which has caused Benson a ton of headaches. Maybe Stabler would be a better boss for her, though he might also find her frustrating.
There are also opportunities for Stabler to work with some of the ADAs from years past.
Alex Cabot is both popular and a natural choice for this new series. She went into witness protection after prosecuting members of the mob, and during her most recent return, she seemed to miss working in a courtroom.
My second favorite ADA after Cabot is Barba, and Raul Esparza recently reprised the role on Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 4. With Barba now working as a defense attorney, we could get both of our favorite past lawyers on screen at the same time!
Your turn, Stabler fanatics!
What do you hope happens on Law & Order: Organized Crime? Are there storylines or characters that would make this new series must-watch TV for you?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!
Law & Order: Organized Crime won't hit our screens until April 1. But in the meantime, you can watch Law & Order: SVU online right here on TV Fanatic.
Law & Order: Organized Crime will air on NBC on Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST starting April 1, 2021.