Through the first twelve seasons if Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Christopher Meloni portrayed NYPD Detective Elliot Stabler. Though he left the series in 2011, Meloni still remains closely associated with the series almost as much as his co-star, Mariska Hargitay, who has remained a lead on the series since its inception. Speaking with NPR, Meloni recalls what he did during his unconventional screen test for the role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
When talking about his big break, Meloni points out that before Law & Order: Special Victims Unit his career wasn’t steady. He says, “I started SVU as a, you know, sometimes very-employed actor but always, you know, a journeyman-type actor.”
Meloni reveals that he and Hargitay had screen-tested together for their parts on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and that he pulled what could have been a major gaffe when entering the room with her but instead turned out to be something of a power move. He explains:
“You know, all the actors who screen-tested were great, but – and this is one of the rare moments. When I walked in with Mariska – first of all, we were walking down the hall. And I was telling her a joke – telling her a story that was a funny story. And we walked into the room with all the suits and, you know, all the decision-makers. And I said, hold on, guys. Let me just finish this story.
And from that – and the chutzpah – I thought about it afterwards, but that was the idea. You guys will hold on ’cause we got control of the room. We’re in here, and we got control of everything. We’re going to control the scene and our characters. And it was pretty obvious. Even though I hadn’t seen what the others had done, I just – I walked out of that room going, wow, that was it.”