Attaboy, Elliot Stabler: Thursday's crossover episode of Law & Order: SVU — which reintroduced Christopher Meloni's character to the action and teed up his spin-off series — helped NBC post some much-needed viewership gains.

Meloni's much-heralded return after a decade-long absence attracted 8 million viewers — the show's best audience since 2016, according to Nielsen results. SVU also posted a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49, its best performance in that demo since 2017.

The news was just as positive for the 10 p.m. debut of Law & Order: Organized Crime, which features Meloni's character hunting down crime syndicates in the big city. The new series, which also stars Dylan McDermott, averaged 7.9 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in 18-49. That's NBC's performance in the time slot since 2018.

As a result, NBC won the night in the demo (1.3) and viewers (6.6 million), despite tough competition from those old Seattle Grace friends who keep showing up on the beach to see Meredith. Eric Dane (Mark) and Chyler Leigh (Lexie) returned to Grey's Anatomy, giving the ABC drama a second-place finish at 9 p.m. (.9 rating, 4.5 million), behind SVU.

Grey's Anatomy typically dominates on Thursdays. It and SVU are sure to gain more eyeballs from delayed viewership.

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