‘Law & Order: SVU’: Christopher Meloni Describes What It’s Like to Reunite With Mariska Hargitay

As one of television’s longest-running primetime dramas, Law & Order: SVU doesn’t seem like it would have a lot of surprises left! After all, the tv series has taken fans through some heart-wrenching twists and turns with many episodes taken straight from real-life headlines (and given some embellishments to make them more dramatic for the screen).

The series has taken on serial killers, hot button political issues, and even real-life celebrity scandals. It would take a lot to really shock fans, but the reunion between characters Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson seems to have done the trick. 

Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler were partners for years

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

RELATED: ‘Law & Order: SVU’: Fans Discuss Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler Ending up Together: ‘I Really Really Hope They Don’t’

Law & Order: SVU premiered in 1999 as one of several spinoffs from the original series. While many of the other spinoffs were short-lived and have come and gone and others are brand new, SVU stands apart as a roaring success that has become one of television’s longest-lasting dramatic series.

Now in its 24th season, the series has undergone many changes over the years. 

At the start, much of the action revolved around the work of two detectives: Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). The pair has obvious chemistry on the screen, and the potential for a romantic flame to catch has long been a topic of discussion among viewers. Despite the connection, Benson and Stabler remained close friends and dedicated colleagues without ever crossing the line into lovers. 

Together, they were put into perilous positions more times than we can count, and their dedication to one another and to solving some of the most despicable crimes known to man made them a dynamic duo. 

Christopher Meloni left ‘Law & Order: SVU’

RELATED: Does Christopher Meloni Regret Leaving ‘Law & Order: SVU’?

For 12 seasons, this crime-fighting pair seemed inseparable, but all good things must come to an end. There was a contract dispute between Seasons 12 and 13, and Meloni decided not to return to the show. While the details of the dispute and Meloni’s decision to leave are not clear, it certainly had a major impact on the series. 

Meloni went on to other projects, and Hargitay continued on as Olivia Benson without him, even rising in the ranks of the fictional police force to become something of a role model for women in leadership in male-dominated fields. 

When it was announced that Law & Order: Organized Crime would be a new spinoff for the show, fans were delighted to hear that Elliot Stabler would be returning to the franchise. This time, he’d be working on a force dedicated to taking down organized crime rings, and the series also hints that it will focus on Stabler’s own personal journey of facing down his demons.

Christopher Meloni appeared in a ‘Law & Order: SVU’ crossover

Meloni’s return to the Law & Order franchise has given fans something many thought they’d never see again: a reunion between Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson. While Meloni’s return is to an entirely different show, there was a crossover event that gave the two former partners the chance to share the screen again. Fans were delighted by the news, and they weren’t the only ones. 

According to People, Meloni himself was so happy to reunite with Hargitay, whom he considers a friend as well as a colleague. “I got on the stage of the SVU set and it has changed. They have different actors and it’s not my house, it’s not my place, so I had no connection. But as soon as I got to act with Mariska, it was like yesterday,” the actor explained.

He went on to call working alongside his friend again “effortless.”