Elliot Stabler is coming back to the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit universe, and his old partner is happy to have him back.

Following reports this week that Christopher Meloni would reprise his SVU character for a new Dick Wolf series, his former costar Mariska Hargitay posted a message on Instagram wishing the actor a happy birthday and extending a warm welcome to the character he played on the long-running NBC procedural.

“Happy birthday [Chris Meloni],” she wrote, adding, “Congratulations and welcome home Elliot Stabler” and the hashtags #ItsBeenAWhile and #MissedYou.

According to Tuesday’s reports, Meloni will return as Stabler in a new series that will revolve around the character leading an NYPD organized crime unit. (And, we can only hope, will provide opportunities for crossover episodes with the SVU mothership, allowing Hargitay’s Olivia Benson and Stabler to work together again.) NBC hasn’t officially confirmed the news, but Meloni gave a cryptic tease to a fan who asked about the series on Twitter, saying, “Sleep tight.”

Meloni appeared on SVU from season 1 through season 12, exiting the series in 2011. The show is currently in its 21st season — making it the longest-running primetime TV drama ever — and was renewed earlier this year for three more of them.

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