‘Law & Order: SVU’ was almost called something else until Christopher Meloni’s mom chimed in

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni
Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a staple on television, but the series almost had a completely different title.

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Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni made a joint appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” where they revealed some juicy tidbits about the long-running drama.

Aside from discussing their chemistry on-screen, the beloved duo explained that the series likely wouldn’t have endured such a long and successful run if it proceeded with the original title.

“Law & Order” SVU debuted in 1999 and was only supposed to focus on cops solving sexual assault cases hence the working title “Sex Crimes.”

So, what made the showrunners change their mind? Meloni’s mother!

“It was called Sex Crimes and I literally went, ‘Okay…’ As did my mother because when we got it, when we screen-tested and we got it, I go, ‘Mom, I got it!’ [She said] ‘You got what?’ [and I said,] ‘I’m on Sex Crimes!’ She’s like, ‘Can they change the name?'” he noted.

Hargitay weighed in explaining that Meloni’s mother went to bat for a title change, eventually rising up the ranks and bringing the issue up with the show creator personally.

“And then she called Dick [Wolf] and he did change the name!” she exclaimed.

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We’d love to know what mama Meloni said to convince Dick Wolf to change his mind!

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The duo also revealed that someone failed to inform them about the change, so they were going to announce the original name during a publicity tour.

“We were actually beginning to do a little publicity for it and one of the publicists ran up to us — we’re doing a little publicity line and I said ‘It’s great to be working on the great new show, Sex Crimes’ — and she came running up ‘Hey! Don’t ever say those words again! [It’s] SVU.'”

Hargitay agreed that the name change was the right call, joking: “Nobody will watch a show called Sex Crimes.”

The co-stars also gave Benson-Stabler shippers some top-notch content as they leaned into the chemistry that had made the show a success for 23-years and running.

Hargitay and Meloni agreed to “reenact” their first audition during which the actress assumed her was actor John Slattery, who she heard was testing for the show.

"So, I open the door to the audition, and I go like this," Meloni said as he faced Hargitary, who then threw her arms open and shouted, "Slattery!"

"Meloni!" he shouted back as he pulled her in for a hug.

"And it was that," he noted.

The co-stars also shouted out their loyal fans, talked about the ship names, and expressed gratitude for being able to bring these characters to life for over two decades.

“You never think that, after being a struggling actor for so long, that any show’s gonna go. But this was a unique audition for us because when we met, there was a certain chemistry, so I actually wasn’t nervous at the audition. But you never think what happened [with the show’s fame] would happen. You can’t dream it!”

And when Meyers congratulated Meloni for earning the title “zaddy,” which the actor clarified to mean “an elderly gentleman who kind of exudes a certain athleticism, maybe sex appeal.”

As for the crossover scene between Benson and Stabler that made fans go wild, Hargitay noted that she didn’t “realize it came out so sexy."

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