Mariska Hargitay has been with Law & Order: SVU for 22 years. So she has a lot of fond memories from her time with the series. But her instant connection with Chris Meloni takes the cake.
Ahead of Law & Order: SVU‘s momentous 20th season premiere in 2018, Emmy Award-winning actress Mariska Hargitay sat down TV Insider to talk about her epic run on Dick Wolfe’s procedural drama. And she shared a lot of stories about the show.
But sadly, the actress admitted that she couldn’t remember much about her earliest days on set. Though, she did have “a million memories from the pilot.”
However, one particular memory stood out the most—and that’s of her “immediate chemistry” with Chris Meloni.
During her interview, Hargitay recounted filming the pilot episode in the “Meatpacking District.” And she remembered the exact moment that she realized how lucky she was to be working with Law & Order: SVU and the legendary Chris Meloni.
“It was really hot and raining,” she shared. “So we all had to wear baseball caps. I was going, ‘How lucky is this California girl to be shooting a television series in New York with this fantastic actor [Meloni] and fantastic crew!’
Chris Meloni formally left the cast of Law & Order: SVU in 2021 to star in the spinoff series SVU: Organized Crime. He does, however, make it back to his old stomping ground for the occasional crossover event.
You can catch Mariska Hargitay on NBC every Thursday night at 9/8 C and Chris Meloni the same night at 10/9C.
How ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Writers Hid Mariska Hargitay’s Pregnancy
When an actress spends two decades working for a series, their real-life is bound to clash with their on-screen life. Especially when an actress becomes an expectant mother. And that happened in 2007 when Mariska Hargitay joyfully announced her first pregnancy.
The cast and crew of Law & Order: SVU was thrilled to hear the news. But the pregnancy did introduce some new on-screen challenges. Hargitay’s Olivia Benson wasn’t pregnant, so they had to hide the growing baby bump over the course of the season.
While doing that, the producers relied on the good ole’ object blocking trick. And they also filmed a lot of shots where the actress’s stomach was simply not shown.
“I didn’t know what they were going to do. The show being what it is and the writing being what it is, I had utter trust that they would come up [with] an amazing sort of answer to it,” Hargitay admitted in an interview with Movie Web in 2007 “It was actually really fun and really challenging to cover it up, and I think they handled it really well and really creatively.”