‘Law & Order: SVU’: Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay Reveal How Their First Screen Test Together Went

When many people think of Law & Order: SVU, they think about Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler and Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson. The two clearly have a whole lot of chemistry, which has been evident since they first appeared on our screens so many years ago. Although Meloni left the series and didn’t return for season 13, fans still cherish the memories they have of these two incredible actors working together.

Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay have chemistry

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni
Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni | Bobby Bank/WireImage

Over the years, fans really got to know Meloni and Hargitay as Stabler and Benson. Some fans even wanted the partners to end up together, considering all their chemistry. But Stabler had his own family, and he was married to Kathy (Isabel Gillies) with a brood of children. Despite the fact that they were never anything more than partners, it didn’t stop fans from wanting it to happen.

Unfortunately, Meloni left the series when contract negotiations fell through. Although he left, Hargitay continued on the series, and she’s still with SVU to this day.

Meloni and Hargitay reveal how their first screen test together really went

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni
Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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In an Entertainment Tonight video uploaded to YouTube of the pair from 1999, they discuss the series before the show first premiered on television screens. They also talk about the first time they met, and how they connected instantly.

“We just walked into the screen test, and you know there’s Mariska…” Meloni makes motions like Hargitay was flipping her hair around.

“Lies,” Hargitay reveals. “And then we met, and there was three actors and three actors, and we got paired up together.”

“And we walked into the final screen test laughing,” Meloni says. Hargitay chimes in that they were “hysterically” laughing. Obviously, it’s a nerve-racking moment, but the two couldn’t stop laughing.

“That’s why I felt we got the job, because you know most people go in, ‘Hi, how are you?’ Because you know all the executives are there,” Meloni explains. “‘We’re now going to do scenes,’” he says. He looks at Hargitay, and says, “‘Are you ready? Are you connected?’ She and I are like…” They both look at each other and laugh, and Hargitay says, “Hold one second,” as if to stop laughing and get more time to replay the scene.

The two were joking and laughing together in that moment, which makes Meloni think that’s why they got the job. Their chemistry was so apparent even then, and it’s nice to remember the good old days when Stabler and Benson were partners.

Although fans would have loved to see Stabler and Benson get together on camera because of their amazing chemistry, it never came to be. But their connection is so vivid and real, that it’s obvious even so many years after they first appeared on our television screens.