Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay Let Their “Law & Order” Chemistry Bloom Into a Beautiful Friendship
Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni are one of the most electric TV duos we’ve ever seen. Their connection on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit surprised even them and still makes every fan hope that their characters will end up together. But what many fans may not know is that their on-screen bond transformed into a meaningful real-life friendship that has lasted for over 2 decades.
They’ve been working together for forever.
Mariska and Christopher’s paths crossed in 1999 when the two got cast in what has now become one of the longest running crime dramas on TV Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. They worked side-by-side for 12 seasons until Meloni suddenly exited the show after failing to negotiate a contract extension. This was a serious blow to all the fans, but the show kept going with Mariska taking over the helm.
It wasn’t until 2020 when Meloni announced his triumphant return to the Law & Order universe: he received a lead role in a spin-off series Law & Order: Organized Crime, and he also agreed to a recurring role on the Special Victims Unit, which meant he and Hargitay were finally reunited. But even though they took a professional pause for nearly a decade, their friendship never wavered.
Their on-screen chemistry is undeniable.
But let’s backtrack to the beginning when Law & Order was finding its main stars. The series creator Dick Wolf revealed that he was looking for very specific actors to play the main characters and Mariska and Chris were the exact right fit. He said that upon seeing their chemistry, he didn’t audition anyone else. Hargitay supported him, “There was an explosion that happened.”
Still, surprisingly, Mariska and Christopher’s characters have never been involved romantically, despite the fans wishes. The actors joke around about being friends for over 2 decades, which is what would make their on-screen coupling nearly impossible. It was revealed that in season 24, Benson and Stabler nearly kissed, but didn’t because Hargitay “wanted to, but couldn’t.” And yet, the show’s fans don’t lose their hope.
They’re involved in each other’s personal lives.
Hargitay once commented on her long-running friendship with Meloni describing it in a moving way, “There’s so much love and there’s so much trust and there’s so much ease and there’s so much chemistry.” And, indeed, the two have been through a lot together professionally, but even equally as friends. They’ve witnessed loss of parents, marriages, babies, and many more.
A big defining moment for Mariska and Chris’ friendship was Meloni’s daughter being born. In 2001, the actor welcomed his baby girl with his wife Sherman Williams, and he chose his Law & Order co-star to be the godmother. And that was only two years after knowing each other! Hargitay also credits Chris and his wife for showing her what a solid family looks like.
Meloni made Hargitay’s happy marriage happen.
And speaking of Meloni setting a good relationship example for Hargitay, without him, she might not have found her happiness. In 2002, her future husband, Peter Hermann, joined the show as a recurring character and Meloni instantly noticed a spark between the two. He recalled Mariska acting all giggly around Peter and so Chris knew that they’d end up together.
But things didn’t go as smooth as Hargitay would’ve wanted. A few years into her relationship with Hermann she came to Meloni, crying, he revealed. She was saying that they had a difficult conversation and that they’d most likely break up. Even then, Chris knew they’d be married in no time, and he was correct. By 2004, Mariska and Peter were married, and if you want to know more, you can read all about their romance here.