Yes, Chris Meloni ‘clearly’ remembers *that* shirtless ‘SVU’ scene with Mariska Hargitay

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As we continue to spiral over what's to come for Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler on the next episode of "Law & Order: SVU," we thought it was important to reflect with Chris Meloni on one of the duo's most talked about scenes among fans.

The scene in question dates back to 2008's Season 10 episode "Wildlife," when Stabler (Meloni) goes undercover to infiltrate a group of animal smugglers. During his stint, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) stops by his temporary residence to check in, and things go sideways when two of the smugglers surveilling the residence show up and demand to know who's inside.

Benson hides in the bathroom and emerges with her shirt off, pretending to be a woman there to spend the night with Stabler's undercover persona, and snuggles up to an also shirtless Stabler. At the time, the scene was especially significant because fans who wanted the two to become romantic never got to see the characters that close, as Stabler was married.

"Are you ready for me, Daddy?" Benson famously says with a put-on accent.

"I do remember that being out of the box," Meloni tells while reflecting on that scene. "There was something about that exposure — a literal exposure — that made it very dynamic.

"I just remember that feeling, and I remember she and I — we were extra, I don’t know, vibrant or vivacious or whatever, and that was our expression of, ‘Oh, my God, this is really pushing these characters towards an uncomfortable place.'"

He adds, "I remember it clearly. I remember the feeling."

At the mention of Benson's accent, Meloni laughs, "Yeah, it was a little Southern," before imitating, "'Come on over here, Daddy. Oh, OK, Daddy.'"

In the Jan. 26 "SVU" episode "Blood Out," viewers will get the chance to see Benson and Stabler interact like never before. A promo for the episode shows the two forehead to forehead and embracing in Benson's apartment.

Meloni tells he "popped a breath mint" before filming the big scene.

He also describes the scene as "interesting," "delicate," "difficult" and "awkward."

"But that's all good," he explains, "because I think those were all elements that were part of the scene."

TODAY co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb teamed up to interrogate Meloni on Jan. 25 in Studio 1A about whether Benson and Stabler will kiss in the Jan. 26 episode.

"I want my lawyer," Meloni joked.

Savannah and Hoda pressed him again, asking if the duo would be locking lips, to which Meloni responded, "She’s so beautiful, I was asking about her beauty secrets. Her skin is so soft."

“Law & Order: SVU” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET, after “Law & Order” at 8 p.m. and before “Law & Order: Organized Crime” at 10 p.m.

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