Christopher Meloni surprises Mariska Hargitay at the U.S. Open

Benson and Stabler
Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni reunited as Benson and Stabler on Law & Order this fall. Pic credit: NBC

Benson and Stabler can’t get enough of each other….even out of the squad room.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska Hargitay was surprised when Christopher Meloni, now starring in Law & Order: Organized Crime, showed up to watch the U.S. Open with her on Friday in New York.

It’s another sign of the bond between the actors — a bond that fans hope turns into a romantic storyline in the new seasons of their shows.

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni watch tennis together

The bond of Benson and Stabler has always been one of the backbones of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. 

The pair were introduced in the pilot as professionals who trusted each other without question. Both had a passion for helping victims and each was willing to risk their lives for the other.

Stabler’s wife, Kathy, openly acknowledged that Olivia understood Stabler better than she ever could.

Olivia was thus quite hurt when Stabler left the unit after being forced to shoot a teenage girl in the Season 12 finale.

This mirrored Hargitay’s own feelings as she told People magazine earlier this year, “I was just so sad because we started this thing and built it together. And we went through so many milestones and spent so much time together and understood so many things that nobody else could understand.”

After a decade, Meloni finally returned in a special crossover leading to his own Law & Order: Organized Crime series. The pair have been having fun bantering on social media, including a fake “kiss”.

On Friday, Hargitay was with husband Peter Hermann in the Grey Goose box at Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch Novak Djokovic take on Alexander Zverev in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. 

To Hargitay’s surprise, Meloni popped up with his wife, Sherman Williams. While Hargitay was aware Meloni was going to attend, she didn’t know they’d be sharing the same box.

Meloni planted a kiss on Hargitay’s forehead as they cheered on Djokovic’s victory and clearly enjoyed their time together.

A hint of Stabler/Benson in the new promo?

Fans are hopeful that this season might finally bring the long-awaited Stabler-Benson romance to the forefront.

Elliot has been mourning his wife, Kathy, who was killed in an attack meant to hurt him. Benson has done her best to help her partner, even taking part in an intervention by his family with Elliot telling her, “I love you.”

NBC has whet appetites with a brief promo for the two shows returning next week. While most of it uses older footage, the ending has Stabler asking, “Are we good?” Benson replies “Always” as they appear to have a meaningful hand-hold.

While fans would love to have seen more, it does hint at the drama for the new seasons of both shows. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will have Benson attacked (an excuse for Hargitay’s real-life broken ankle) as well as face a case with major political implications.

Meanwhile, Law & Order: Organized Crime will have Stabler going on a dangerous undercover assignment while still dealing with his wife’s murder.

Yet, there’s a chance the off-screen chemistry of Hargitay and Meloni might indicate the Benson-Stabler partnership takes a bold new turn for Law & Order fans.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 premieres Thursday, September 23 at 8/7c, followed by the Season 2 premiere of Law & Order: Organized Crime at 10/9c on NBC.

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