When Christopher Meloni, half of one of TV’s most beloved will-they-won’t-they-couples with Mariska Hargitay, left “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” after 12 seasons, it seemed like anyone who joined the “elite squad” of “dedicated detectives” would pale in comparison.

Eventually Kelli Giddish and Danny Pino were hired as series regulars to investigate “especially heinous sexually-based offenses” for Season 13 and this week, Giddish is the one winning the heart of Hargitay’s Olivia Benson. In the May 2 episode of “Law & Order: SVU” (Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC), entitled “Father Dearest,” Benson and Rollins — Giddish’s character who was transplanted to New York’s SVU from Georgia — go undercover at a sperm bank as a couple looking for a donor.

“We went out to set and Mariska’s like, ‘Hi. Let’s go be lovers for a second,'” Giddish told HuffPost TV with a laugh, recalling the scene, which you can see exclusively here below. “We were like, ‘When should we have the hand touch? When does the hand touch happen?'”

Despite the lighter moment, “Father Dearest,” which also brings guest star James Van Der Beek as the anti-Dawson Leery, is definitely not the feel good episode of the year. In the episode, the squad discovers a suspect who seems to be targeting young, vulnerable women with a similar personal connection to a teenage girl who disappears.

Below, Giddish discusses the startling new installment, joining the show’s post-Meloni era, why Ice-T and Coco are two of her favorite people, working with Van Der Beek and Martha Stewart, the future of “SVU” and much more.

Definitely one of the lighter moments of this week’s episode was when your character Rollins and Benson [Mariska Hargitay] go undercover to a sperm bank as a couple. Did you guys have fun with that scene?
It was fun. We had a blast with it. It was the first scene of the day and we went out to set and Mariska’s like, “Hi. Let’s go be lovers for a second.” [Laughs.] We were just cracking up. And it’s always so much fun to work with Mariska. And any time you get to do a little something different, in terms of being playful or whatever, it’s always fun.

Did you two talk about how you wanted to play that scene or did you just go for it?
No, we just showed up and we were like, “When should we have the hand touch? When does the hand touch happen?” [Laughs.] It was fun. Like I said, any time you get to play around with the characters and act like someone else, it’s great.

You can read the full interview here.