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Chris Meloni & Rick Gonzalez Appeared Together In The L&O Universe Long Before Organized Crime

It seems like only yesterday that the "Law & Order" masses were celebrating the triumphant return of longtime "Special Victims Unit" star Christopher Meloni. In fact, a few years have passed, with Meloni's "SVU" return essentially serving as a backdoor pilot to a spinoff series for his beloved Detective Elliot Stabler. As "L&O" fans know, the soon-to-wrap third season of "Law & Order: Organized Crime" brought a couple of new faces into Stabler's orbit, the most prominent of which is arguably undercover specialist Det. Bobby Reyes, portrayed with low-key gusto by Rick Gonzalez.

Reyes spent the bulk of Season 3 proving his merit to Stabler and the rest of the Organized Crime Control Bureau. But it seems Gonzalez himself may have proven himself to Meloni more than two decades ago via a guest spot in an early episode of "SVU." Titled "The Third Guy," that episode came late in the first season of "SVU." It also found Gonzalez's playing a character on the wrong side of the law, which eventually lead him to be interrogated by Meloni's Stabler.

As Gonzalez recently told Today, Meloni offered a welcome, if unsolicited acting tip in the middle of that emotional scene. "He [Meloni] kind of kicked me a little bit under the table as I was crying in the scene," the actor said, adding, "because he wanted me to have my face up for the camera to see me cry. And he's like, 'We don't hide our face.'"

Gonzalez has been learning all he can from Meloni since their Organized Crime reunion

As Rick Gonzalez went on to tell Today, he was a-okay with the note from the more seasoned Christopher Meloni because he was just starting to figure things out as an actor. Gonzalez's IMDb page confirms the "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" appearance was just his third credited screen gig. The actor noted he was thrilled to be working with professionals like Meloni and his "SVU" counterpart Mariska Hargitay as an up-and-comer because they were, "so giving as actors in the scene." And yes, even that early in the series' tenure, Gonzalez claims the dynamic "Law & Order" duo's chemistry was beyond evident.

Of Meloni's less-than-subtle nudge during that "SVU" scene, Gonzalez says the moment has always stuck with him, and likely will forever. And Gonzalez claims he's still happily learning from Meloni after joining the cast of "Law & Order: Organized Crime." "You watch him work and you just see everything and all the knowledge he possesses for the show," Gonzalez said, continuing, "and he just knows what everything needs in order to be successful."

Gonzalez was quick to add, "So I'm just watching him because he's the quintessential leading man for a TV show and knows what it takes to be successful." Now more than 20 years into his on-screen career, Gonzalez seems long overdue to make the jump to leading man himself. And if he keeps taking notes on how Meloni handles his business, Gonzalez may soon find himself fronting a "Law & Order" spinoff of his own.