Mariska Hargitay, SVU Hair Gallery

NBC

Christopher Meloni may have left Law & Order: SVU years ago, but the bond he has with his former TV partner Mariska Hargitay runs deep still to this day. In a bonus clip from his interview with James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio, Meloni opens up about working with Hargitay for those 12 seasons of SVU and reveals why the writers never "went there" with Detectives Stabler and Benson.

"She was always ready for anything new…There was always an unspoken shorthand to what we were doing. That makes it just so much easier, and off camera as well," Meloni said. "There's a lot to be said for that when you're working with someone for 16 hours a day, you better get along when the cameras aren't rolling as well as when it is. That was priceless, I think for both of us."

The two recently reunited (and posted selfies of course). Benson and Stabler may not be together on screen anymore, but as Meloni noted, that bond extended off screen as well.

Meloni and Hargitay spent 12 seasons as Stabler and Benson together before Meloni left the show between the 12th and 13th seasons. There was tension (physical and emotional) between the detectives, of course, but crossing that line from partners to something more wouldn't have worked, Meloni said when asked if producers wanted to pair them up romantically.

"That I think they always knew would be the death knell of that relationship," he said. "I think they needed to keep that line taut and very clear…Keep the tension, never cross it."

What do you think SVU diehards? Click play on the video above for more from Meloni about working with Hargitay on SVU.

Catch Meloni's Inside the Actors Studio episode on Thursday, March 31 at 8 p.m. on Bravo. Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays, 9 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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