‘Law & Order: SVU’: Christopher Meloni Says Acting Opposite Mariska Hargitay ‘Gives Life’ To Their Characters

by Michael Freeman

Though Law & Order: SVU fans have their differences and opinions, one thing that’s relatively constant is how well Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson work alongside each other. That chemistry applies to real life too, as Christopher Meloni said acting opposite Mariska Hargitay “gives life to their characters.”

Even after their tenure on the show ended, Meloni and Hargitay still speak about their friendship and how great it was working with one another. Entertainment Tonight recently had the opportunity to talk to Meloni about the two of them and he had nothing but good things to say. In fact, he said acting alongside Hargitay “gives life to their characters.”

“There’s a history there, there’s an effortlessness there,” Christopher Meloni said. “I think we get to play notes that only she and I could play together. You know, what comes out of that duet. So, it’s very unique and so, that is refreshing and it gives life to both of us.”

To the surprise of no one, people online are eating it up in agreement. The replies are flooded with heart emojis, with one person even saying “you both give us life.”

The two began working together all the way back in 1999 when the series began and were together for more than a decade. Law & Order fans were treated to a wonderful surprise when Meloni made his return for Organized Crime. Even better, we got a crossover episode late last year where we got to see him and Hargitay together in action again.

With luck, we’ll get to see it more frequently.

Mariska Hargitay Mistakenly Thought Christopher Meloni Was Someone Else When They First Met

Though the Law & Order dynamic duo is a match made in heaven, their first meeting was a bit awkward. Seeing one another at the auditions for the show, Mariska Hargitay thought Christopher Meloni was someone else.

Talking to Glamour about the humorous encounter last year, Hargitay revealed she thought Meloni was Mad Men star John Slattery. After seeing him, she yells “Slattery!” to which he instantly replied “Meloni!” Luckily, he took the whole thing in stride.

In another interview with Inside the Actors Studio, Hargitay disclosed more about their first encounter. After an incredibly brief conversation, she learned a lot about him. “I was already standing up, and so we did this huge hug, and we’d never met,” Hargitay explained. “He has a huge tattoo of Jesus on the cross, and so I said, ‘Oh my gosh, are you a Christian?’ And he’s like, ‘Um, no.” And I said, ‘Then why do you have that?’ He goes, ‘Just liked his commitment.’ That sort of sums up Meloni.”

Their chemistry was instant, to the point show executives had them audition together despite initially planning to do it separately. The rest is history.