Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni Gush About Working Together on 'SVU' and 'OC' (Exclusive)

The 'Law & Order' stars revealed why things have felt 'so good' ahead of the 1-year anniversary of their onscreen reunion.

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni’s onscreen reunion, the two stars couldn’t stop gushing about working together again. While attending the New York City premiere for Law & Order season 21, which returns to NBC on Feb. 24, Hargitay and Meloni spoke to ET about why it “feels so good.” 

After leaving Law & Order: Special Victims Unit at the end of season 12, Meloni reprised his role as Elliot Stabler in the all-new spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime, a decade later. 

The actor’s return as Olivia Benson’s former partner meant seeing Hargitay and Stabler share the screen again. And fans weren’t disappointed when Stabler was first reintroduced in a crossover event that kick-started with SVU before the official premiere of Organized Crime on April 1, 2021. 

Since then, the franchise has seen Benson and Stabler explore their intense and complex relationship as they navigate being back in each other’s lives during several crossover events, making fans wonder if they’ll ever ignite a long-awaited romance

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While where their professional and personal relationships go remains to be seen, there’s no denying that seeing Hargitay and Meloni onscreen together has been a delight for longtime fans of the franchise. 

“You know, when Chris left, I knew he would be back. I don’t think he did -- I know he didn’t -- but I did,” Hargitay said. “So, it was very exciting for him to come back and to come back in such a beautiful way.” 

She added that as soon as the two actors reunited, it was like “zero time had passed. [We] didn’t miss a step and it just felt so good. It felt like home.”

“Because there's history, there’s an effortlessness,” Meloni said of their renewed chemistry on set. “I think we get to play notes that only she and I can play together, you know? Whatever comes out of the duet is very unique. And so, that is refreshing and gives life to both of us.”

Not only that, but “our sense of humor is the same. We laugh the same. We just see things the same a lot,” Hargitay added. “So, it was a beautiful gift and it was very invigorating for me and for him. I’m just so proud of him to be gone for 10 years and to be so culturally relevant now and welcomed back, because he’s that good and that special.” 

“It’s been a joy,” she continued. 

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Now, there’s another former co-star returning to the crime procedural universe. Sam Waterston is reprising his role as District Attorney Jack McCoy on the mothership series Law & Order

A longtime star of the original run, Waterston played McCoy for 16 years, from seasons 5 through 20. He also crossed over with Special Victims Unit during that time, appearing opposite Hargitay and Meloni several times. 

During the premiere, Hargitay said that she and Meloni were reminiscing about the first time they met Waterston, when they first launched SVU. “It was obviously so long ago,” she recalled. “He’s just such an incredible force to be reckoned with. So distinguished, so talented, so many things.”

“He was iconic then, not to mention now,” Hargitay continued. “It’s very exciting to see somebody coming back with such a splash.” 

“I’m very excited about it,” Meloni added. “I think it’s long overdue.” 

Of course, both actors are excited about the potential of crossing over with Waterston again. “Dick has already told me that we’re going to, so it’s just a matter of time,” Hargitay said, referring to creator Dick Wolf. “I’m excited about the night that it’s a three-show crossover, which sounds impossible. But we can do it.” 

Law & Order returns with season 21 on Thursday, Feb. 24, airing the same night as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Organized Crime on NBC.