Primetime TV’s ‘Law & Order’ has a reunion to remember

Giovanni Rizzotti, Entertainment Editor

It was perhaps one of the most anticipated events in recent television history.

For the first time in almost ten years, the two main characters of NBC’s long-running TV show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, were finally reunited in a two hour long special. This season 22 special consisted of one hour of SVU, and a second hour of NBC’s new spin-off show, Law & Order: Organized Crime. This aired on April 1, 2021.
The two main characters, NYPD detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, portrayed by Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni, had been partners since SVUs beginning in 1999. For nearly 12 years, the two took down high-profile criminals and others in assault cases.
However, the Season 12 finale marked the initial end of the Benson-Stabler saga, occuring when Stabler is forced to shoot a 16-year-old girl who comes into their squad room and shoots several inmates in a jail cell. Not wanting to deal with 1PP (One Police Plaza) among other things, Stabler resigns as a detective and goes off the grid, devastating Olivia.
Following this episode, Meloni departed Law & Order to move onto other things.
Now, nearly 11 years later, the two finally meet again.
The episode, titled “Return of the Prodigal Son,” revolves around Stabler and his family (who are revealed to have been living in Rome, Italy) returning to New York City for a special event. However, a devastating personal tragedy occurs in Stabler’s family during their visit, shaking the SVU squad to its core.
This event transitions into the new spin-off, Law & Order: Organized Crime. Episode One is titled “What Happens in Puglia.” In this new series, Stabler is now working as a detective to take down some of the largest crime units in New York City. Stars for this new series include Danielle Monet Truitt as Sargent Ayanna Bell, Tamara Taylor as Professor Angela Wheatley, Ainsley Seiger as Jet Slootmaekers, and Dylan McDermott as Richard Wheatley, the main crime boss of the series.
This two-hour special was hyped up across social media, many weeks before the initial airing. I can safely say, it was all worth the wait. The tense moment leading up to the two reuniting, them actually reuniting, the plot of both episodes, and the overall emotion of all the characters in each show made it worth the wait.
I have been a big fan of SVU for a while now, and these episodes only made me like the show even more. I never thought of Detective Stabler returning to the show, and even if he did, I wasn’t sure of how they would do it, but NBC pulled it off perfectly, and I highly recommend watching both episodes to begin the new chapter of the Benson-Stabler saga.