While Chris Meloni was on the fence about returning to his role in the “Law & Order: SVU” universe, he got a pretty great sign from the universe upon his return that he was doing the right thing.
After nearly a decade away, fans never let their love for Detective Elliot Stabler fade.
This is part of the reason that Meloni came back to the franchise. He left at the end of season 12 of “Law & Order: SVU” in 2011. He’s even the leader of his very own spin-off series, “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”
While fans and the producers adore Meloni, for some it goes even deeper than that.
Experience with Fan on ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Set
According to TV Line, Meloni experienced first-hand how impactful his return to the franchise was on the very first day of filming. Meloni was filming with his “Law & Order: SVU” pals for a two-hour crossover event that also served as the premiere of the spin-off series.
As he left the trailer, an extreme fan walked by at the same time.
“She goes, ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’ and she stars hyperventilating. Tears start swelling and forming in her eyes. I’m like, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ She goes, ‘No, you don’t understand: You’re the reason I became a cop.’ That was my introduction back to the meaning and the power and the place that my character — and our characters — have held in the consciousness of many people. It was nice,” Meloni shared.
Despite a very long absence, Meloni got an exceptionally welcome homecoming. He filled his time away with roles in series like “True Blood,” “Underground,” “Happy!” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
“It’s such a unique experience I’m living, which is a sense of welcoming and love and just, ‘Welcome back’ and ‘We’ve missed you.’ It feels very sweet. And I’m just going, man, not too many people get this. It’s not lost on me,” Meloni said.
Chris Meloni Responds to Fan Reaction
For Chris Meloni, that experience on set with a fan was just the beginning.
His return led to a happy eruption on social media. Some of which discussed the love for “Law & Order: SVU” stars Mariska Hargitay and Meloni meeting onscreen once again and others just shared pictures of his tight detective pants.
Regardless of the reaction itself, Meloni was entirely blown away.
“It was pretty overwhelming. I think [Hargitay] was expecting it more than I was because I think she’s been in the ‘Law and Order’ stew, she’s been in that world continuously for the 20 years. I was not prepared. It’s overwhelming and it’s wonderful and it’s very appreciated,” Meloni said according to People.
As for the onslaught of butt-related comments, Meloni proved he’s still got the same level of humor and grace. One fan asked him to explain why he has “so much cake” directly. The actor said, “Sure – big birthday(60), big boy(200 lbs), big cake.”