In some alternate universe, Christopher Meloni never left “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Detective Stabler and Detective Benson are happily married ― having finally acted on 12 seasons of sexual tension ― and the two are sipping iced tea (drink, not the actor) on a secluded beach somewhere.
On Tuesday, Meloni blessed us with a visual representation of this dreamscape by sharing a joyful selfie with his former co-star Mariska Hargitay. He captioned the photo, “Friends at Xmas.”
Despite Meloni’s abrupt departure from the long-running NBC series at the end of Season 12, the two actors seemed to have maintained a strong friendship since their days down at the precinct.
“She was always ready for anything new … There was always an unspoken shorthand to what we were doing. That makes it just so much easier, and off camera, as well,” Meloni said on “Inside the Actor’s Studio” after he left the series. “There’s a lot to be said for that when you’re working with someone for 16 hours a day, you better get along when the cameras aren’t rolling as well as when it is. That was priceless, I think for both of us.”
Rumors of the the “Oz” actor’s return to the series gained momentum earlier this year when “SVU” boss Warren Leight revealed that if the show had ended in 2016, he would have tried to coax Meloni into reprising his role for the finale.
“In hindsight, NBC, Dick, Universal and Chris all know they could have handled that better,” Leight told TVLine. “But I think Chris, over time from what I hear, began to realize that the fans were owed a little more …. It was a negotiation handled without much empathy on any of the participant’s parts and I think they all sort of know that now. And there wasn’t much empathy for the fans either. I think everyone probably learned, but you can’t roll the clock back.”
“I think if Mariska were to have called him, he would have taken the call,” he added. “That can be for another day; hopefully a long way off.”