Fans of Law & Order: SVU were first introduced to Elliot Stabler's (Christopher Meloni) mother, Bernadette Stabler (Ellen Burstyn), in Season 10, Episode 3. Elliot needed his mother's help when his daughter Kathleen (Allison Siko) was arrested. Via Elliot's conversations with his mother and later with Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), audiences learned that she had been diagnosed as bipolar, like her granddaughter.
Bernadette's disorder made it very hard for her to raise Elliot and his six siblings. She once almost killed Elliot during one of her manic phases. As a result, Elliot pretty much erased his entire childhood and has maintained little contact with his mother over the years. However, Bernadette did make a point to be active in the lives of her grandchildren. Stabler's mother will be making an appearance on Season 2 of Law & Order: Organized Crime.
She is the last Stabler family member to make a return on the new series, following the appearance of Elliot's wife, Kathy (Isabel Gillies), in the show's premiere, and his children Kathleen, Dickie (Jeffrey Scaperrotta), Maureen (Autumn Mirassou), Elizabeth (Kaitlyn Davidson) and Eli (Nicky Torchia). Keep reading to find more about the actress who plays Elliot's estranged mother and why she is coming back into her son's life.
Who plays Elliot Stabler's mom in 'Law & Order'?
Actress Ellen Burstyn had her breakthrough role in 1971's The Last Picture Show and solidified her acting career with her iconic character Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist. Ellen won the Best Actress Oscar for Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Ellen's performance as Stabler's mother earned her an Emmy in 2009 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. When Stabler tries to visit his mother in Season 10 of SVU, fans also find out she is going through a manic phase.
Former executive producer and showrunner for Law & Order: SVU Neal Baer talked about how Ellen featured in one of his favorite moments in an interview with ET. He shared, "My favorite scene with Christopher Meloni is with Ellen Burstyn on the beach where it's interesting because these moments are obviously personal moments Stabler is talking to his mother, who is in a manic phase with her bipolar disorder."
Elliot went to see his mother because his daughter was in trouble and he didn't know where else to turn. Neal goes on to say, "The combination of the two of them is really moving and gives us a real humane side of Stabler, you know, apart from the angry detective that will stop at nothing to bring in the perp. This is a man who has his own wounds, and they've been opened up for us to see when we brought in his mother."
We don't know why Bernadette is coming back into her son's life after all this time. It will be interesting to see whether or not it has to do with Elliot's continuing attempts to deal with his emotions following Kathy's unexpected and violent death. Ellen's appearance is slated for later this fall.
Season 2 of Law & Order: Organized Crime premieres Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. EST on NBC.