Christopher Meloni appeared sans shoes on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday, and admitted he was caught off-guard by how much anticipation there is for his return as Elliott Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Organized Crime.
"I gotta be honest, I have felt nothing but good will and anticipation, and I am so humbled and shocked by it," Meloni said. "I just had no idea! I didn't realize that the character and the show resonated so deeply with people, and it's been very — I gotta tell you, very sweet!"
It seems wild that Meloni would be unaware of how intensely people "shipped" Stabler with Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson back when they were partners a decade ago, and how deeply those shipping fires can burn, but perhaps he was too close to it to see it. He also told Fallon how easily things fell back into place when he got on set with her once again.
"You know, it's such a cliche, and I wasn't expecting that either," he said. "Man, I got on the stage of the SVU set, and you know it has changed, they have different actors, it's not my house. It's not my place, so I had no connection. But as soon as I got back with Mariska, it was like yesterday when we got to acting, when we got to working, because we know each other and mess around and associate and all that, but when we got down and cameras were rolling, just locked and loaded, and it was such a seamless, effortless endeavor. It was great."
The clip he showed from SVU, though seemed to directly target those "shippers," as it's a bit more than we've seen of his conversation with Finn (Ice-T), where Stabler gets an update on what Benson has been up to, and he coyly asks about who she might be seeing.
Outside of that, Meloni also talked about his experience on Finding Your Roots, where he learned his surname comes from the fact that his great-grandather was adopted as a baby who was nicknamed Melonhead. So now we all know that he comes from "a long line of Melonheads."
Law & Order: Organized Crime premieres April 1 on NBC in a crossover event with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
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Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.