By Lawrence Ferber
Updated January 24, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

If Law & Order: SVU cop Christopher Meloni is convincing as a con in HBO’s Oz, maybe it’s because he once really spent a night in the slammer. ”I had a barroom brawl,” says the actor of a Washington, D.C., incident in the early ’80s. (He says the misdemeanor battery charges were soon dropped.) ”When they open the paddy wagon, I see that the other guy is already in there! I turn and go, ‘This is a really bad idea.’ We’re handcuffed behind our backs, and this guy starts kicking me and weaseling his hands around. I’m like, ‘Dude, don’t do that.’ So I had to kick him in the head to calm him down.” Unlike the Oz inmates, Meloni says he didn’t become anyone’s, ahem, girlfriend during his incarceration. But, he quips, ”I did get a couple of phone numbers.”


”The whole time I’m thinking ‘Oh my God, I’m in bed with Meryl Streep. Oh my God, I’m about to kiss Meryl Streep!”’ — The West Wing’s Allison Janney, on playing MERYL STREEP’s lover in The Hours