It's been a long road to the screen for Christopher Meloni's return to the Law & Order universe.
Thankfully, the wait is almost over as Law & Order: Organized Crime is set to launch later this week.
As you've probably guessed, the first season will be considerably shorter from what we've come to expect from the franchise.
In a new interview with TV Line, Meloni revealed that three episodes are "in the can with five more to go."
That means Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 1 will span eight installments, which is a short and sweet season for fans of Elliot Stabler.
The series has been shut down twice due to COVID-19 and suffered a wealth of changes behind the scenes.
On top of that, the premiere is late into the established season, so a truncated run was never out of the question.
But Law & Order: Organized Crime will not follow the procedural nature of SVU, so it sounds like we'll be getting a storyline that will span the full season.
"It's not a case of the week, because organized crime doesn't work in that way," executive producer Ilene Chaiken shared recently with Entertainment Weekly.
"It's an episodic show; the episodes will stand on their own. But the stories will also play out over the course of a whole season."
Chaiken wants the series to be a different take on the franchise.
"We want to do a different Law & Order," Chaiken says of the new series.
"If they had asked me to do a conventional procedural, I probably wouldn't have said yes, because it's not my strength and it's not my interest."
"Yes, it's very much a part of the franchise, and the fans will get all of the things they want from it. But the very first thing [Wolf's team] said to me is that the show is serialized," Chaiken continued.
"His family, his history, is all very much a part of the show. That's the show — who this man was, who he is."
The new series will follow Elliot Stabler, who returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss.
However, the city and police department have changed dramatically in the decade he's been away, and he must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning.
Throughout the series, we will follow Stabler's journey to find absolution and rebuild his life while leading a new elite task force that is taking apart the city's most powerful criminal syndicates one by one.
Meloni will first return in this week's SVU, but he appears in many other episodes this season.
What are your thoughts on the episode order?
Are you ready for Stabler's big comeback?
Hit the comments.
Remember, you can watch Law & Order: SVU online right here via TV Fanatic.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.