The reunion long-time Law & Order: SVU fans have been waiting for is one step closer to happening.

Christopher Meloni will return to the Law & Order fold as Elliot Stabler in a new series that has a 13-episode order from NBC, marking this the first time he's playing the iconic character since the season 12 finale in 2011. The new Law & Order show will be set in New York and feature Stabler leading the organized crime unit. That means that, yes, Meloni's Stabler and Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson are set to cross paths once again.

Meloni exited the show between seasons 12 and 13. In the season 12 finale, Meloni's character was involved in a shooting in the precinct. The season 13 premiere explained his character decided to retire after the required leave of absence. Viewers never saw a farewell between the two fan-favorite partners.

Now, the reunion is inevitable.

Law & Order: SVU showrunner Warren Leight brought back a number of faces for the show's history-making season 21, and ahead of the premiere said a Stabler return was out of his hands.

"I don't know how, I don't know when, but, yeah, that's kind of, I think the fans and Benson and Stabler are owed that," Leight said about a reunion. But he's just talking about a reunion on screen. Hargitay and Meloni have kept in touch since his exit and regularly treat fans to selfies when they get together.

See some of those moments below.

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni

Instagram

Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays, 10 p.m. on NBC. The series was recently renewed through season 24 by NBC.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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