As we reported in March, NBC has given a series order to an SVU spinoff starring Christopher Meloni, reprising his Law & Order: SVU role as Elliot Stabler. The SVU spinoff drama revolves around the NYPD organized crime unit led by Stabler.
In a new episode of the show’s podcast, Leight talked about the return of Elliot and revealed the initial plans to bring back Kathy Stabler (Isabel Gillies) in the season 21 finale.
“We had heard distant thunder about Chris Meloni coming back in the fall and we were going to lay a little groundwork for that. We were going to see Kathy Stabler come back very upset. Her son had been rolled by a team of ne’er-do-wells and may have been drugged, and we were going to revisit Simon’s seeming overdose and we were going to get to know the stresses on the Stabler—what had happened to the Stabler family after Elliot both left SVU and apparently left them,” Leight said.
“We were just going to lay some groundwork down in anticipation of Elliot’s return of course in his own series. We had the sense that the first episode of next year for SVU was going to bring Elliot back, so we were going to foreshadow that and explain a little more what happened to Simon,” he continued.
The production shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic hit in the middle of shooting episode 21 of the series, forcing things to shift a bit in season 22. Leigh said there may be a some of season 21’s 23rd episode in season 22 and the plan for the finale may be reduced to a teaser in the upcoming season.
“It’s very hard for me to tell NBCUniversal and [Dick Wolf], ‘Can you guys hold off on introducing Elliot because I had something in mind?'” Leight said.
Law & Order: SVU has been renewed through season 24 on NBC.