‘SVU’ stars tease return of fan-favorite character in anniversary posts

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 22 years since “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” first introduced viewers to an iconic pairing of on-screen talent and chemistry with Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson and Christopher Meloni’s Elliot Stabler.

This week, that big anniversary comes just days before both the season 23 premiere of “SVU” and the season two premiere of Stabler’s current prime-time district, “Law & Order: Organized Crime.” So, to celebrate those occasions, the stars behind the characters gave their faithful fans a peek at a familiar face from long ago — who also happens to be an upcoming guest star, too.

“Well, this happened on the 22nd anniversary of us/svu,” Meloni wrote alongside two photos he shared on Instagram.

Related: The most recent season of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" had many fans wondering if Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni's characters will get together.

The first pic was just a sweet shot of him and his longtime friend and sometimes co-star. But the second shot is the one that showed what “happened” — or rather who.

Click or swipe through to see it above, or just scroll down, since Hargitay shared that photo, too.

Yes, that’s Ellen Burstyn, who played Bernadette Stabler, aka Mama Stabler. Fans haven’t seen her since her season 10 guest spot on “SVU,” in an episode titled “Swing,” in which she gave an emotional performance so strong it earned her an outstanding guest actress Emmy.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)

And fans will get a chance to see more of her soon.

The 88-year-old veteran of stage and screen will reprise her role by making her first “Organized Crime” appearance this season, in an episode that is also set to feature a crossover visit from Hargitay.

A synopsis from NBC’s upcoming prime-time schedule reveals that on the second “Organized Crime” episode of the season, “Stabler’s loyalty is put to the test at work, and again at home when his mother unexpectedly shows up,” and it also notes, “Stabler and Benson air some long-standing grievances.”

As Hargitay put it in a recent “SVU” anniversary post, “We’re Not DunDun Yet.”

See Benson and Stabler return for back-to-back season premieres starting at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 23 on NBC.