As previously reported, 'Law & Order: SVU' star Christopher Meloni is getting his own show, but it's now been announced that he'll also be returning to the show for its premiere episode of Season 22.
Per the show's behind-the-scenes podcast, the original plan was for Detective Stabler to reappear at the end of the current season in preparation for the as-yet spinoff show. However, that plan was scrapped when production was shut down due to the pandemic.
While details are light on the Season 22 opening episode, details on the spinoff show have come to light. It's understood that the show will be set in New York and follow Stabler leading an organised crime unit. Right now, however, there's no word on when that show will begin airing or when it will enter production.
Meloni left 'Law & Order: SVU' back in 2011 after starring from the very beginning of the series, with his character being written off the show as retiring from the force. However, the absence and return will be explained as Stabler going undercover in the mob - not unlike how 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' did, although they're two completely different shows.