‘Law & Order’: Chris Meloni Explains Viral Picture With Mariska Hargitay

by Caitlin Berard

Adorable pictures of Law & Order stars and best friends Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay are a regular occurrence. Earlier this year, however, one behind-the-scenes picture had fans in an uproar, as it appeared the two were about to share a kiss, at first glance.

In an interview with Today, Chris Meloni explained that the tender gesture was actually a bit he shared with Mariska Hargitay. Rather than pulling him in for a kiss, Mariska was simply pinching his chin as a proud parent would do to their child.

“She and I used to do a schtick where we’d go, ‘You’re great, kid,'” Meloni said. “We’d clip each other in the chin. But yeah, if we did a great scene, we’d go, ‘Hey, good job.’ So that – we were re-creating that.”

Although there are no romantic storylines currently in the works (as far as we know), there’s always hope for a future love story between Benson and Stabler. As the two have been best friends both in real life and on-screen for more than 20 years, it would seem a natural progression for their characters’ relationship.

‘Law & Order’ Star Chris Meloni Reveals Potential Romance Between Benson and Stabler

Law & Order stars Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay never shy away from sending their fans into a frenzy with a cute picture or comment about the other. That said, they have always (somewhat half-heartedly) tempered fans’ expectations when it comes to a romance between their characters, Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler.

With Stabler’s return to the Law & Order universe, however, Chris Meloni believes romance could be in the air for the former partners. In an interview with Today, Mariska Hargitay revealed that Benson has been in love with Stabler for years now. And because Meloni believes Stabler feels the same, the unspoken feelings between them could be coming to a head.

“I think he’s in the middle of realizing,” Meloni said. “Yeah, I think it’s more difficult for him. I think he’s carrying a lot of – stuff. I think it’s as the feelings build and the reality builds that oh, we’re in an environment where we can act on these feelings, possibly, then it’s getting all too real.”

Hargitay then backtracked, however, amending her previous comment to say that their relationship is certainly “complicated,” whether or not it’s romantic. “I think that spending that much time with somebody, but then knowing that it could never be – but the chemistry is undeniable.”

“It’s been a complicated, a complicated factor in their relationship,” she continued. “So I think that it’s the man that she was closest to, the man that understands her the most, the man that she understands the most, and a deeply complex relationship.”