I loved Law and Order, then they kept the tragedy called SVU and killed off the primary and the off shoots.
What I wish they would have done is merge SVU into a new Law and Order (this was my view before they restarted L&O again).
As for this dynamic, there are things that could have been spun up with him coming back. Can you imagine using a Catholic reference of Saul turning into Paul for Stabler how positive that could have been?
Just as Texas SB8 startles me still to the point, where every voting chance this will be the yes/no litmus test on voting. There are opportunties to help masculinity get reframed in a decent way and allow men to step up into authentic "knight" roll with true partnership and growth. Sadly from your analysis it looks like SVU (unless there is a long term story arc) fails at the bong-bong ....
As a side note, my wife is at a horse show trying to live her dream and making her business work. So I am taking the time to binge a show I have been meaning to watch for a while, and what I like about doing it now is it is strengthening my inner resolve to be the intent to the traitor to my gender statement that has been uttered.
That show? Handmaiden's Tale.
What I like about taking time in rebuilding my masculinity and becoming a feminist and taking a rest is I can see the layers and improve me as a person, human and man.
Be well. Praised Be :)