Fans still hope his character, Elliot Stabler, will return to the show.
An SVU producer just spoke out about the chances of that happening.
Law & Order: SVU fans were devastated when Christopher Meloni disappeared from the series in 2011. As the partner of Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), his character Elliot Stabler had become a defining part of the show. Years later, viewers are still hoping that Stabler will return—but unfortunately, it doesn't seem likely.
Law & Order: SVU's executive producer Warren Leight took over the show soon after Christopher left, and was responsible for explaining his beloved character's exit. Because Stabler wasn't killed off—he instead retired from the police department—Warren has thought about bringing him back.
"I assume that if some year, some decade, couple decades from now, we get to the last SVU, [Christopher] would have to come back before we do the last episode or before the show signs off," the producer told TV Line. "However, I don't think we're at that point in the show's run."
SVU, which is in the midst of season 21, is officially the longest-running primetime live-action series on television—and it doesn't seem to be slowing down.
But when it does come to an end, Warren may not have a say in whether or not Stabler will be part of the finale. In a recent interview with E! News, he admitted that the negotiations involved would be "above [his] pay grade," but that he's thought a lot about it. He even considered if Stabler's wife, Kathy (Isabel Gillies) could make an appearance.
"But you can't bring her back…it's tricky…That's sitting there at some point. I don't know when we'll see it," he said.
While that doesn't sound promising, we're holding out hope that Christopher would want to reunite with his original cast members before the series ends. But we also hope that's not for a very, very long time!
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