Chris Meloni Is ‘Open’ to Returning to ‘Law & Order: SVU’

Forget ripped from the headlines: Former Law Order: Special Victims Unit star Chris Meloni is making them now! The actor, 56, told Entertainment Tonight that fans could potentially see his beloved Det. Elliot Stabler return to NBC’s long-running crime drama.

“I have always said I would be open to it,” Meloni explained to ET. “Circumstances have to be right, that is all.”

The actor exited the show after 12 seasons in May 2011 when he and the network failed to successfully negotiate his contract for season 13. His volatile Stabler, who was partnered with Mariska Hargitay’s now Lt. Olivia Benson, never received a proper farewell on the popular show, a point that many fans have yet to accept.

Stabler’s return was being considered for season 17, former show runner Warren Leight told The Hollywood Reporter in February 2016. “We had been talking … had [the season 17 finale] been the last episode, we would have tried to bring him back.”

But for now, fans who want to see Liv and Elliot together again will have to settle for the reunions the friends share on Instagram.

“Happy birthday @chris_meloni PFL,” the Emmy-winning actress, 53, captioned an April 2 snap of the two embracing.

Happy birthday @chris_meloni PFL

A post shared by Mariska Hargitay (@therealmariskahargitay) on Apr 1, 2017 at 9:19pm PDT

Law Order: SVU, currently in its 18th season, airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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