'Law and Order: SVU' season 18 spoilers: Christopher Meloni to return?

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The hit procedural drama “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” is set to return for an 18th season, and it seems that a budding romance from the past season may not make it after all in the upcoming season if recent reports are to be believed.

As per the latest rumors, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and SVU Deputy Chief William Dodds (Peter Gallagher) would soon be able to get past the death of Mike Dodds (Andy Karl), but Olivia might have her relationship with Captain Ed Tucker (Robert John Burke) in jeopardy, with the alleged return of Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni).

While it was announced that the series had once again been renewed for yet another new season its 18th one at that showrunner Warren Leight discussed his doubts back then about the show’s fate, and the fact that they had actually prepared the recent season 17 to be the series finale, if it ended up being the final season.

“We’ve always been aware that our numbers are lower than they could be if we were on Tuesday at 10 or Wednesday at 10 or Thursday at 10 and that the competition is very tough in that 9 o’clock slot,” Leight said, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “Sometimes there’s been this unspoken fear that we’re being asked to build our own coffin.”

“If we weren’t coming back, there were a couple things I was absolutely going to do,” he shared, noting that there had been plans of brining in some of the previous series regulars such as Richard Belzer, Danny Pino, and most of all, Meloni.

As for the possible return of Meloni, while it did not happen in the season finale of the 17th season, the actor remains to be open to make at least one final appearance before the show’s curtains closes.

“I always presented that I’d be open to doing the last few episodes, so that’s really all I have to say about that,” Meloni said, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “It’s not up to me, I’ll just say that. I’ve said my peace on it.”

“Law and Order: SVU” season 18 premieres Wednesday, Sept. 21 on NBC.