Mariska Hargitay on Why Christopher Meloni Returned to 'Law & Order': 'How Could You Stay Away!' (Exclusive)

The friends and co-stars talk to ET about keeping the TV partnership going for more than two decades.

It was a Law & Order: SVU homecoming for Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay at the Emmys! The duo walked the carpet on Monday night ahead of the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, where they marveled over being part of TV history for more than two decades. Meloni and Hargitay shared the screen together for more than a decade on SVU before Meloni parted ways. He returned as Stabler in 2021 to lead his own spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime, and reunited with Hargitay onscreen.

"I don’t feel any pressure at all," Meloni told ET's Kevin Frazier on the carpet of keeping the TV partnership going. "I go to work knowing how lucky I am. Whenever we get together, it’s old home week and it’s great to have a touchstone to go back to. It’s nothing but pleasure for me, so as long as we keep telling good stories, it's gonna be all right."

"Yeah, it’s just been such an incredible experience to collaborate with such incredible expertise," Hargitay added. "I mean, our writers and our crew, and we keep pushing the envelope and digging deeper and going harder. And the thing I’m probably most proud of is that every time we have a guest star or anything they always say, 'I just can’t believe you’re still committed after this long,' and we are all so committed and that’s a joy."

Hargitay joked that Meloni returned mainly because it was difficult for him to stay away from the iconic franchise.

"How could you stay away from this?" she exclaimed, agreeing that he simply needed to be around her every day. "That's what I'm saying!"

"If you were looking for a secure job, I don’t think acting is the first go-to on the list right there, so look to be an employed actor, to be a well-compensated actor and then to be telling stories that you like with people that you love for as long as we've been doing it. It’s pretty special," Meloni acknowledged.

The pair also shared the TV shows they're currently obsessed with. For Hargitay, it's SuccessionSeverance and Yellowstone. For Meloni, it's Severance, Ozark and Atlanta. "Those are my go-tos," Meloni revealed.

The new seasons of Law & Order: SVU, Organized Crime and Law & Order kick off with a three-hour crossover Thursday, Sept. 22 on NBC.

The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards hosted by Kenan Thompson were broadcast live on NBC and Peacock. In the meantime, check out the full winners list and stay tuned to for complete Emmys coverage.