“Law & Order: SVU” just brought fans a reunion marked by tragedy.





Photo: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
Photo: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

On Thursday’s big-event episode, Christopher Meloni’s Detective Stabler returned to the show, reuniting with Mariska Hargitay’s Benson, for an episode setting up the new spinoff “Law & Order: Organized Crime”.

RELATED: Christopher Meloni Could Tell ‘Law & Order’ Co-Star Mariska Hargitay Would Fall For Peter Hermann

Fans had been anticipating Stabler’s return for a long time but were not prepared for the shocking death that would come along with it.

In the episode, Benson is called to the scene of a car bombing, only to discover the victim is Stabler’s wife Kathy. While she initially survives, at the hospital her spleen ruptures and she dies before surgeons can save her.

RELATED: Christopher Meloni Says He’s ‘Humbled And Shocked’ By Fan Response To The Return Of Det. Stabler In ‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’

Photo: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
Photo: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

As we learn, Stabler has been living in Italy as an NYPD terrorist task-force liaison and had come back to New York to testify in a case, hoping to surprise Benson while he was there.

After first suspecting a right-wing terrorist in the bombing, evidence suggests another plot entirely, in which Stabler himself was the intended target of an organized-crime hit.

The episode ended, leading right into the series premiere of Meloni’s “Organized Crime” spinoff.