Christopher Meloni Teases Law & Order: SVU Return With New Mariska Hargitay Pic

The reunion we’ve all been waiting for!

On Friday, Jan. 15, Christopher Meloni teased his highly-anticipated return to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The 59-year-old actor took to Instagram and shared a black-and-white photo of himself and former on-screen partner Mariska Hargitay, who plays Captain Olivia Benson.

Meloni, who played Detective Elliot Stabler between 1999 and 2011, captioned the image, “We are a little bit closer.”

Fans are certainly looking forward to Benson and Stabler’s on-screen reunion. In fact, many have even sounded off in the photo’s comments section.

One enthusiastic fan commented, “I HAVE BEEN WAITING TEN YEARS FOR THIS!!!!”

Same, pal. Same.

As E! readers may recall, Meloni’s return to the long-running legal drama was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, the season 22 premiere of Law & Order: SVU was meant to mark Stabler’s return to the franchise in about a decade.

The Law & Order: SVU appearance was also supposed to introduce Meloni’s new Dick Wolf show, Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Yet, due to the ongoing pandemic and showrunner Matt Olmstead‘s departure from the new series, Meloni’s return was pushed back.

“These days all plans are subject to change. And then they change again. And again,” Meloni wrote on Twitter in August 2020. “For now, we won’t reintroduce Stabler until the night of his Organized Crime premiere. @SVUWritersRoom has to be NIMBLE this year.”

Thankfully, by the end of 2020, Meloni made it clear he was back as Detective Stabler. On Dec. 8, the father of two shared a picture of Stabler’s United States Marine Corps tattoo.

He wrote, “#firstdayofschool.”

Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, InstagramInstagram

Later that same day, Meloni posted a photo of himself and daughter Sophia at work.

Meloni shared with his followers, “Get to work with my girl- #BestDayEver.”

We can’t wait to see Stabler back in action.

Watch: “Law & Order: SVU” Returns for Season 22: E! News Rewind

For more pics of BFFS Meloni and Hargitay, scroll through the images below.

Dinner Party

“Sunday night dinner,” Mariska Hargitay shared alongside a selfie of her and Chris Meloni, who she starred with on Law & Order: SVU for 12 seasons before the actor left the series in 2011.

Vacation Buddies

Hargitay posed this snap with her bestie while on vacation in December 2018 and we’re obsessed. “Vacay…A great night with this one. #Reunited #OldFriends #PTL,” she captioned it.

Partners for Life

In May 2018, Meloni and Hargitay hung out together in New York City and of course they documented it…thank goodness.

Selfie Fail

“Crazy ppl on the streets of nyc,” Meloni captioned this selfie fail and seriously, how can you not just love these two together?

Blurry Buds

Blurry or not, this snap of the two former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit co-stars spending time together during the holidays in 2017 is too cute.

Happy and They Know It

After Thanksgiving in 2017, the two pals ran into one another and clearly they still have fun no matter what the occasion.

Kiss Kiss

Ugh, how do we get Detective Stabler to give us a smooch?

Goofballs Forever

“Even the effortless moments…” Meloni captioned the previous photo only to follow it up with this funny picture and the caption, “…need to be rehearsed.”

Birthday Bash

Hargitay shared this sweet snap in honor of her former TV partner’s birthday in April 2017 and said “PFL” at the end of the note and we’re dying a little inside because Stabler and Benson are partners for life!

Be Mine

“And then that happened…Just when I thought Valentine’s Day was over,” Hargitay wrote alongside this kissing picture from Valentine’s Day in 2017 and we are again getting teary-eyed at these two loving each other so much.

Stabler & Benson for President

In 2016, the former TV partners and real-life friends celebrated Christmas together (well, a few days early) and we are in desperate need of an on-screen reunion now.

Friendly Run-ins

“Lean on me #PFL #FacialHairDontCare #Hargoatee #HanginWithAFriend #ItsAllInTheEyesKid,” Hargitay wrote on this precious picture and we will never get tired of these quick reunions.

Spotted: SVU Pals

In 2015, in the dark of night, New York City’s greatest detectives, err, we mean friends, reunited once again and posed for an epic photo.

Ride or Die

It doesn’t matter how long these two are apart, they always make time to check in with each other and we are totally on board with all the run-ins that have happened over the past few years.

Bestie Reunions

In March 2014, the duo reunited for dinner proving that they will always be partners, even if they aren’t acting alongside one another anymore.

Binge past episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Peacock.

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