When Law & Order's Rick Gonzalez isn't busy "organizing crime" as Detective Bobby Reyes beside Christopher Meloni's Detective Elliot Stabler, the super-fit co-stars keep busy by organizing their workout routines.
"I literally every day ask Chris, 'What did you work on today in the gym?'" Gonzalez exclusively told E! News. "And he'll smile and proceed to tell me, 'I did squats and I did front squats and I did lunges,' and he just gets so excited to talk about what he worked on."
Meloni, 61, has spent recent months making headlines for his physique, partaking in everything from a nude Peloton ad to embracing the "zaddy" moniker the Internet has bestowed upon him. Gonzalez sees it all as inspiration.
"He's my motivation, too," the actor noted. "I like working out, but not as much as he does!"
"I do remember the chemistry they had, Mariska [Hargitay] and Chris," the 43-year-old recalled. "I do remember that it felt like they were on a show for eight seasons. Meanwhile, this was season one. It just felt like they were working for years, and they were so professional and giving."
Fast forward more than two decades, and Gonzalez and Meloni are together once more.
"It's surreal to [come] full circle and hang with him, coming back on set," he said of the reunion. "I almost wanted to give Chris Meloni a hug because it's just like, 'Hey man, 20 years later and here we are.' It's great. This industry is always so strange, but it can be rewarding, too."
In his role, Gonzalez's character brings to the task force a history of undercover work and a reputation for never having had his cover blown. His past has earned him the title of "invisible man," a phrase Gonzalez is "excited" to unpack.
"There's a lot to this idea of the world doesn't see me," the actor shared. "I'm Puerto Rican and Dominican. I'm Afro-Latino. I'm from New York City. I've been through a lot. I know people. I see people. Sometimes people don't see me. And I get that, and I think Bobby sort of interprets that as an advantage."
"I think these next two episodes are going to sort of really attack the heart of who Bobby is and what makes him operate and tick," Gonzalez added. "What is he wrestling with? This next episode [episode five], we're gonna get to see these guys posing as cops, and they're raiding these places, these drug dealer homes, and they're doing really bad things. Now there's a connection there between these guys and Bobby Reyes. And we're going to learn that. And then we're gonna go to Episode Six where we're literally in the mud. We're going into the mud of Bobby Reyes."
The Oct. 27 episode of Organized Crime is also set to feature SVU star Kelli Giddish, who Gonzalez says he's "bummed" he didn't have the chance to work with.
"I would have loved it. I'm such a huge fan of the franchise and all the shows," he gushed. "It would have been really cool. But who knows, maybe Bobby Reyes will cross over into the other shows. Maybe Bobby and Ice-T will do something, that would be amazing!"
In the meantime, Gonzalez is enjoying the company of his own Organized Crime co-stars, including Danielle Moné Truitt (Sergeant Ayanna Bell) and Ainsley Seiger (Det. Jet Slootmaekers), and it seems there is no shortage of camaraderie behind the scenes.
"They make fun of me. They're so mean. They just laugh at me!" Gonzalez teased. "No, it's so good. Danielle's sweet and Ainsley is so funny and easy to get along with. She's a big gamer and so am I, so we talk video games on set and it's really cute. And Brent [Antonello] and I talk baseball all the time. Brent used to play baseball. He's just this really cool guy."
He continued, "And I love working with Chris. I feel like I'm learning a lot from Chris. I catch myself just listening and learning and understanding what components are necessary to make our show work, especially from a character's perspective and also from a story perspective. Everyone's been so gracious in terms of accepting Brent and I."
For more of Gonzalez, don't miss Law & Order: Organized Crime Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on NBC.
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