Christopher Meloni's Law And Order: SVU Spinoff Delayed Over Changes Behind The Scenes

law and order svu stabler christsopher meloni

The long-awaited return of Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler in the Law & Order universe will leave fans waiting a while longer due to some changes behind the scenes. Law & Order: Organized Crime is still happening as an Special Victims Unit spinoff, but not as soon as previously expected.

Law & Order: Organized Crime will be delayed due to a change in showrunners, according to THR, which reports that previous showrunner Matt Olmstead is leaving due to difficulties on the creative side of producing the series. The show was intended to launch in the extended fall season of NBC's 2020-2021 TV lineup.

The showrunner change marks the latest delay in Christopher Meloni's return to television as Elliot Stabler. Production on Law & Order: Organized Crime was impacted by the pandemic that resulted in shutdowns and delays throughout the entertainment industry, and NBC officially moved the Organized Crime premiere back to a 2021 premiere back in August.

In even worse news for Stabler fans who have been waiting ever since the end of Season 12 back in 2011 to see Christopher Meloni back in Law & Order action, Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight revealed on Twitter that Stabler is no longer going to be part of the Law & Order: SVU Season 22 premiere. According to Leight, Stabler won't be introduced into the Law & Order universe until the Oragnized Crime premiere.

The on-screen reunion between Benson and Stabler will have to wait, even if Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay have already hung out together after the spinoff news! That said, Warren Leight's comments came before news of the Organized Crime showrunner switch, so it's possible that plans will change ahead of the spinoff's premiere. Law & Order: SVU is still currently scheduled to return for Season 22 in November, along with NBC's other Dick Wolf series.

Matt Olmstead's departure as Organized Crime spinoff seemingly isn't due to any bad blood, but rather creative reasons. He came into Organized Crime with extensive Dick Wolf experience courtesy of NBC's Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med, and is expected to work on another Dick Wolf show following the end of his time at Organized Crime.

Despite the delay, the Organized Crime spinoff starring Christopher Meloni is likely a hot commodity, considering fans have been holding out for more Stabler over the many years since he left Special Victims behind. It also marks Meloni's big return to TV drama as a leading man, as his roles in Syfy's Happy and Hulu's Maxxx were decidedly more comedic than what happened during his time on SVU, and his run on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale lasted only four episodes.

Law & Order: Organized Crime received a straight-to-series order in March 2020, with an initial order of 13 episodes. Although other high-profile Dick Wolf shows have already begun production with premiere dates in sight on NBC, Christopher Meloni's show had not yet begun production.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more developments in the world of television and movies, and check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule to find when Law & Order: SVU and more big TV shows will return in the coming months.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).