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The Staggering Number Of Law & Order: SVU Episodes Christopher Meloni Actually Filmed

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" has been a benchmark of NBC's programming for over two decades. The "Law & Order" spinoff debuted in 1999 and introduced viewers to Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), a pair of detectives tasked with tackling some pretty heinous crimes, often inspired by real-life headlines. The beloved police procedural has since gone on to produce 23 seasons and doesn't show any signs of slowing down, making it the longest-running primetime live-action series to ever grace the small screen (via TVLine).

Like any TV series that's been around for a while, "Law & Order: SVU" has experienced its fair share of cast changes throughout the years. Christopher Meloni has stepped in and out of the franchise during its run, though he'll forever be one of its poster children, having dedicated years of his career to solving crime as Stabler. But just how many "Law & Order: SVU" episodes has the actor appeared in?

Meloni has been in hundreds of SVU episodes

Christopher Meloni spent 12 seasons on "Law & Order: SVU" before he parted ways with the show in 2011 (via IMDb). His character seemingly retired out of the blue, and life went on. However, Meloni returned to NBC's procedural saga in 2021, reprising the role of Elliot Stabler in the Rome-based spinoff "Law & Order: Organized Crime." Furthermore, this has allowed him to return to "SVU" for some crossover episodes and give the fans some much-needed closure.

Despite being away from "Law & Order: SVU" for a decade, Meloni's contributions to the series are impressive. As IMDb notes, the actor has appeared in 279 episodes of the hit crime drama at the time of this writing. That's an impressive feat for any actor on a hit TV show, but can fans expect to see him in "SVU" again?

As Express points out, Mariska Hargitay recently appeared on "The Drew Barrymore Show" and hinted that Benson and Stabler will eventually hook up. "We're trying to figure out what to do. He's free, and I think he's got eyes for me," she revealed. It remains to be seen if romance is in the air, but at least there are plans to continue featuring Meloni in the series that made him a fan-favorite presence among "Law & Order" fans.