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Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni tease ‘SVU’ fans with nod to characters’ tension at Emmys

Oh, so close for the actors who play Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler.
Mariska Hargitay, left, and Christopher Meloni
So close! But no cigar.Mark Terrill / AP
/ Source: TODAY

Will they, or won't they?

The minute we learned Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni would be sharing the stage as Emmy presenters Monday night, we had to wonder just what the show's writers would have them do.

Because those who're desperate to see the former "Law & Order: SVU" co-stars (Meloni is now on "Organized Crime") get up close and personal (or, at least, their characters Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler) were rooting for some kind of action.

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni
Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni presenting the award for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series at the 74th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California, on Monday.Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

And they got it! Almost. Well, not really.

Hargitay and Meloni were part of a pre-presenting skit that had them chasing after a thief carrying an Emmy on a video screen, a pursuit that turned into reality when the pair burst onto stage with the perp, grabbed the award and handed him over to the authorities.

Admiring the Emmy, Meloni said, "Oh, this is pretty cool."

Grinning, Hargitay (who had her strappy, glittery shoes held over one shoulder), noted, "I'm good; I have two."

Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni
Clowned again (but we're OK with it).Chris Haston/NBC / NBC via Getty Images

(Hargitay has one primetime Emmy, for her "SVU" role in 2006. Her second Emmy is a news and documentary Emmy from 2019, for "I Am Evidence.")

Needless to say, Meloni gave her a look.

Finally, at the microphone he said, "Well, Mariska, we did it."

Together, they chimed, "Again."

Then things got serious. They turned to one another. They leaned in for what might be a smooch and then — pulled away. Meloni snapped into listing the nominees for lead actor in a comedy series and the moment was over.

Rats!

Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni
They've never looked better actually.Chris Haston/NBC / NBC via Getty Images

It was an almost miss kiss, and played perfectly into fan interest in seeing Benson and Stabler have a relationship. (In real life, both Hargitay and Meloni are happily married.)

Well, better luck next time. After all, the pair will be sharing some screen time on Sept. 21, when "Law & Order," "SVU" (heading into its 24th season!) and "Organized Crime" share a three-way crossover. Anything goes then!