A popular TV detective is returning to the force.

Elliot Stabler, the long-running partner of Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson on "Law & Order: SVU," and the actor who played him, Christopher Meloni, are returning to NBC in an "SVU" spinoff series, USA TODAY has learned.

Stabler will be at the center of a new crime drama from Dick Wolf, the mega-producer behind "SVU," NBC's three "Chicago" procedurals and "FBI" and "FBI: Most Wanted" on CBS. The new show, which does not have a title, was picked up for 13 episodes.

In the spinoff, which was first reported by Deadline, Stabler heads an organized crime unit in the New York Police Department, which could lead to crossovers with Benson and her "SVU" team. Meloni and Hargitay formed a popular police tandem for 12 seasons on "SVU," now in a record-setting 21st season for a live-action primetime scripted show.

Meloni left "SVU" after Season 12 in 2011. Stabler, whose wife and five children became part of the show's storyline, retired from the force as a way of writing the character off the series at the start of Season 13.

Meloni, a regular on HBO's "Oz" before "SVU," has since starred in such series as "Surviving Jack," "Underground" and "Happy!" and made appearances in "Pose," "True Blood" and "The Handmaid's Tale."