The Benson-Stabler romance continues to be Law & Order’s most teased subject.
In a recent interview, Law & Order: Special Victim Unit’s Mariska Hargitay and Law & Order: Organized Crime’s Christopher Meloni shared more insight into what fans can expect should their detective characters finally complete their long-running romantic dance.
The Benson-Stabler dance continues
Ever since Elliot Stabler returned after an eleven-year absence in the 2021 crossover that began Law & Order: Organized Crime, the question of his feelings for former partner Olivia Benson has grown.
The pair had always shown a strong bond working as partners in SVU and constantly had each other’s back. Stabler’s own wife, Kathy, noted that Benson understood Stabler in a way Kathy never could.
With Kathy murdered, Stabler has been trying to get his life back on track, with Benson offering her support. They’ve grown closer since Stabler gave Olivia a letter Kathy had written with his addition that “in another world, it would be you and me.”
Speaking in a dual interview with People Magazine, Hargitay acknowledged Benson’s feelings for Stabler and how complex they can be.
“It’s such a complicated relationship that I think we just want to respect the complexity and the nuance of it. These two people love each other, they have been family to each other, but he just lost his wife, and no matter how she feels about him, the most important thing for him is to grieve his wife, heal from that. And he’s in a new job and he’s sort of unbalanced … But what we do know is that Olivia loves him, will always love him, will always be there and they have a bond like no other.”
These words echo those Hargitay said in an interview with Drew Barrymore on how Benson has been “in love with Stabler for many a year.”
Yet, just because both sides may feel a romance, that doesn’t mean one might occur.
What are the chances of a Benson/Stabler romance?
Both Benson and Stabler have seen other romances in the last year. Benson had a one-night stand with a former teacher flame, which ended badly when the man was accused of a past assault.
Meanwhile, when undercover with the Kosta Organization, Stabler hooked up with Flutura Briscu (Lolita Davidovich) in a steamy encounter.
Continuing the talk on the central romance, Hargitay stated that she recognized that any date between Benson and Stabler would be “really easygoing,” as their characters “couldn’t handle a lot of pressure.”
“It’s a lot of pressure. I don’t even know the answer to that. It makes me nervous just thinking about it,” Hargitay says, adding: “Let’s just go out to dinner, let’s start there.”
Meloni chimed in that “in the future, I don’t not see it. That might be very satisfying for a lot of people, I’ll leave it at that. I just think that it really has to be a natural aspect of Elliot’s back and in town and especially how he left and their radio silence over all these years, you have to answer these questions and figure out how they inhabit the same space.”
Right now, both characters are busy with Benson running SVU and Stabler handling a showdown with foe Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott), among other investigations.
Yet these words once more hint for fans that the dreams of a Benson-Stabler romance may be coming true sooner than they think.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 23 returns with new episodes Thursday, February 24 at 9/8c, followed by Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 at 10/9c on NBC.