Going back 23 years to that memorable 1999 pilot, TV audiences have dedicated many of their hard-earned thoughts to the idea that Law & Order franchise stars Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay comprise the idealized version of adoring celebrity relationships, despite the actors not actually being romantically linked. Such is the raw and unadulterated power of Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, who will likely grow closer than ever as the Fall TV season gets underway. Before all that, though, the occasional co-stars took some time to completely outshadow the 74th annual Emmy Awards with their public displays of self-aware, shipper-baiting affection, and fans could not get enough.
The fun technically started during the pre-Emmys party scene on Sunday night, where the Law & Order duo hung out with Barry star Henry Winkler and others. And then again in the hours prior to the Emmy ceremony, Meloni made one Twitter user’s day with an impromptu selfie next to Hargitay in a vehicle of some kind, presumably on the way to the festivities.
YOU GOT IT https://t.co/sJwtoNjGZn pic.twitter.com/e5FkvMfUASSeptember 12, 2022
And they…were…off! After the adoring BFFs made it to the red carpet interviews, it was really time to bring the flirty energy out in full. Even without saying a word, Meloni and Hargitay simply posing for pictures together from afar was enough to send hearts fluttering all over the country.
Oh. My. God. Alexa show me absolute perfection in two people…September 12, 2022
Even during the moments when they were apart, there was still something for viewers to hitch their emotional outpouring onto, such as Meloni apparently getting way too literal with Hargitay’s suggestion.
She told him to “hang on” 😭#MariskaHargitay #ChrisMeloni #Emmys pic.twitter.com/pFHDQj8ZuuSeptember 12, 2022
During Peacock’s pre-awards interview with Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay, she was asked about her husband Peter Hermann’s thoughts on the closeness she shares with her former co-star, and as she was answering with honesty about his happiness, Meloni kept chiming in with light-hearted jokes about it that no doubt had fans ready to jump into their TVs to smoosh the actors even closer together.
At one point during the ceremony, after the giant screens in the venue paid homage to network TV crime dramas, Meloni and Hargitay were brought into the “action” when a faux crook stole one of the Emmys from backstage. Their go-to reaction? For the actress and producer to plop her leg on the table for him to help take her heels off, so that she could run with greater ease. And that moment in and of itself was a winner.
mariska hargitay’s leg on a table. that is all pic.twitter.com/iIqoZRQ16oSeptember 13, 2022
Then the fireworks really started, or at least they came SO close to starting. Meloni and Hargitay pulled off another one of their famous “gonna make you think we’re about to kiss, but then we pull away at the last second” moves that can instantly meld down the fandom.
yall .. @Mariska @Chris_Meloni this has got to be the last time you guys pull the fake kiss on us … we’re been waiting for 23 years!!! 😭😂 pic.twitter.com/ld9Oe2sqzVSeptember 13, 2022
That near-smooch inspired lots of breathless reactions from the fandom, understandably so. It's hard to think of any other pop culture entities that can command the attention of an entire room by setting up a kiss that everyone knows isn't actually going to happen. It's sorcery is what it is. Here are some of (but certainly not near the majority of) the reactions that fans had to Meloni and Hargitay's mouths being near each other.
- Call a bus. Stick a fork in me. I’m done. you can pay my hospital bills because it’s all your fault. @Chris_Meloni @Mariska — @benslerpics
- The world just witnessed mariska hargitay and Christopher meloni playing cops about to kiss in national television AT THE EMMYS, and EVERYONE CHEERED... it's time to give the people what they want dick/wolf. — @nationbensler
- I actually cannot take anymore YOU HAVE PLAYED WITH MY EMOTIONS FOR THE FINAL TIME Jk - see you next Thursday. 8 pm, right?? @Chris_Meloni @Mariska — @JoyfulHeartEO
It definitely wasn't just people here in the U.S. that were going gaga over Meloni and Hargitay's Emmy night charisma, as fans all over the world chimed in with positive vibes, despite the time difference making things a bit more exhausting.
5am. I'm very tired but I couldn't be happier.😍 #chriska was the very best part of entire show!Unbelievably beautiful and funny like no other.Thank you for the emotions!I needed this!💖😭💙@Mariska and @Chris_Meloni 🙏 pic.twitter.com/C9gOjk8nWSSeptember 13, 2022
For all that viewers adored what they saw during the broadcast and its pre-shows, at least one Twitter user was already looking to the future to try and set up another big project for the duo to take part in together.
Just do it, Lorne Michaels! Do it! Do it! Do it! Even if it's just to stop all the chanting.
Without Kelli Giddish returning for Season 23, Law & Order: SVU will premiere on NBC on Thursday, September 22, at 9:00 p.m. ET, followed by the Season 3 premiere of Law & Order: Organized Crime, though both shows will be part of a massive three-series crossover with the mothership drama kicking things off at 8:00 p.m. ET.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.