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Mariska Hargitay & Christopher Meloni: ‘We Have Each Other’s Back’

For 12 years, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni tackled crimes that are considered especially heinous as costars on the long-running NBC hit Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Hargitay’s empathetic detective Olivia Benson was the maternal, nurturing counterpart to the fiercely protective Elliot Stabler, played by Meloni. After so much time immersed in such intense roles, when Hargitay, 57, and Meloni, 59, reunite in a New York City photo studio on a wintry afternoon, it’s only natural that the two of them greet each other … by cracking jokes and cracking each other up.

“Nice jeans,” Hargitay says of the dark denim Meloni is wearing.

“They’re Cheline,” Meloni offers. “Sophia [his 19-year-old daughter] approves of them.”

“But she didn’t tell you how to pronounce it, clearly. It’s Celine. Like Dion,” Hargitay corrects him, as Meloni holds up his phone to show her a picture of Sophia. “Wait, I don’t have my glasses on,” she says, pushing his phone farther away so she can focus.

“How far back do I need to hold this?” Meloni asks. “Should I go into the neighboring studio?”

Moments later, as the two sit down to share the details of their 22-year friendship, the ribbing continues. “Humor

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