I was such a fan of the OG Law & Order: SVU series, before it went to hell with terrible stunt-casting, a boozy Sharon Stone and the exit of Christopher Meloni. Those years where Benson and Stabler – Mariska Hargitay and Meloni – were partners were the best years. They had great chemistry together, but their chemistry mirrored their off-screen partnership too, which was based on respect and friendship and being each other’s work-wife and work-husband. Their characters were never romantic and Meloni and Hargitay were never romantic. It was deeper than that! God, I still stan them so much. And now they’re back together for Law & Order: Organized Crime, premiering in April. I CANNOT WAIT. Bring back Ice-T! Meloni and Mariska cover the new issue of People, with a great dual interview:
How their friendship started: “It happened at the screen test,” Meloni tells PEOPLE of their initial meeting in this week’s cover story, explaining that they both “walked into the screen test, me telling her a story, and we get up onstage in front of all the suits, and we’re just so engaged.” Hargitay also felt an instant bond. “I walked in, saw him, and I went, ‘That guy. That’s the guy.’ It went deep, very fast. We both knew that it was something big,” she recalls. “I won’t say that I fully understood it, but I knew that meeting him was important and life-changing. My father, my husband, [Law & Order creator] Dick Wolf and Chris are the four pillar men in my life. And that happened early.”
Their close families: Meloni had a front-row seat as Hargitay found love with actor Peter Hermann, 53, whom she first met when he had a guest-starring role on SVU. The two have now been married for 16 years and are parents to August, 14, and Amaya and Andrew, both 9. As for Meloni, he was already married to his wife, artist Sherman Williams, 61, when SVU began. When the couple welcomed Sophia, now 19, in 2001 (they later had son Dante, 17), they asked Hargitay to be godmother.
Mariska on Chris’s family: “The birth of his first child and being privy to his amazing, solid relationship with his wife, before I had that for myself — I think that Chris and Sherman played a really big role for me, to see this really stable couple that loved each other,” Hargitay says. “And it made me feel even safer with him, as opposed to: ‘Great guy — but single.’ Or ‘Great guy — except for his romantic life.’ Instead, he’s this man who is as solid as a rock, and who is that rock in his relationship. And I got to lean on it when I needed to. It was like family.”
Working together again: “It was Pavlovian: Ring that bell, and you get right into Stabler and Benson,” says Meloni. “There was so much shorthand between us, which all goes back to the trust we have,” Hargitay adds. “He’s always made me feel like I could just jump off the ledge, the cliff, the bridge, and he would catch me, in so many ways, whether it was comedy or acting or friendship.” “It’s simple,” Meloni says. “We have each other’s back.”
Inject this into my veins!! God I love them so much. To have that kind of trust and respect between coworkers/friends and then to be able to show it on screen, as a functional working relationship between a man and a woman who are not romantically involved. It’s great! And I am so looking forward to this show.
Also: there’s some secrecy about who else from the L&O cinematic universe might show up in this new thing. Maybe Mike Logan (Chris Noth) or Bobby Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio)!! No, probably not, but it would be great.
L&O dropped a teaser!
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
I’m just sad it’ll be cross-over and maybe not a regular thing. 😭 Maybe it’ll be more, 🤞🏼🤞🏼.
When you watch their arc as actors on the OG run of SVU, you can see how they upped each other’s acting skills. I can just imagine how doing this now must feel like falling back into a feather bed for them. I can’t wait.
I loved SVU a lot and couldn’t get enough. And as much as I liked Benson and Stabler, I was a Munch and Tutuola fan girl – these two were amazing together. I have to watch old seasons again this weekend.
And can we please bring Goren back?
I loved them together. But the story line of that show at times was just so dark and depressing I had to stop watching it.
Agreed. Absolutely *love* them together! And I had to stop watching SVU *but* now that they’re back with Organized Crime, that will be much more palatable and not as many trauma triggers (hopefully), just good old fashioned crime-mystery-drama. lol That’s one of the only kinds of escape I can handle right now in midst of pandemic… So excited for this new series!
Meloni is an awesome character actor too. As Sven, in Fear and Loathing. So funny as Freakshow in Harold and Kumar.
I really enjoyed Meloni’s episode of Finding Your Roots. *Spoiler* His reaction to finding out Nancy Pelosi is his cousin was adorable.
It was so adorable! His family history was also very interesting.
It’s nice they get along but their Law & Order series is the one I can’t watch. Meloni is such a ham actor it takes me out of the episode. And Hargitay can only act with her mouth open. I find it distracting, unappealing and appalling on a show that explores sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. There are many women who hate actress and model pictures editorials where the women has her mouth open which I don’t think is always fair since the woman does always get a say in which picture is used, or may be bullied into it.
Yikes. I never noticed mouth open or ham acting. I love their show and both of them as actors. Only L&O I didn’t like is Criminal Intent. I’ll still catch the shows with my beloved Lenny Briscoe and Sam Waterston.
Please please please let there be a Bobby Goren/Vincent D’Onofrio guest arc!!!!!
He’s always been my ultimate celebrity crush. I loved him on “Oz” as well as L&O. I’m so happy to hear that he’s a decent guy. It sounds like he & Mariska have such an amazing relationship. It sounds a lot like the one i had with my very best friend who was a male, while i was married to my high school sweetheart. I ended up falling in love with my best friend, so left my husband to be with him. We’ve been together/happily married for 15 years now.
Oooooooooohh, Oz. What a great show, quite shocking for its time. Tons of great actors appeared in it. Yeah Meloni was awesome. So was the great JK Simmons. Tom Fontana did genius casting imo. Lordy I could go on and on about that show.
Meloni is obscenely sexy.
I want Barba in a scene with Stabler and Benson.
I miss Barba so much 😭
I hope he comes back again as a defence attorney because that was a good episode.
I love him and tickled to have him back, but they need to be together , thats what everyone been waiting on, and there needs to be some acknowledgement that he was around or was aware of the awful and great things that has went on with her, the whole time she was going through the lewis ordeal I kept thinking Elliot would have killed him
I used to watch SVU the way I watched the long lamented L & O original series. But after Stabler left it got so dark that I had to bail. I am looking forward to this new one.
Way more than a friends without benefits relationship. Plenty of ongoing benefits and for years.