Law And Order: SVU Director Talks The 'Delight' Of Working With Mariska Hargitay And Chris Meloni For Stabler Finally Meeting Benson's Son

Law & Order: SVU is going strong more than two decades in, and even crossed over with Law & Order: Organized Crime for a recent two-part event. The crossover started on SVU when Stabler ran into Benson and Noah out on the town to celebrate Mother’s Day, with a scene that delivered the long-awaited meeting between her longtime former partner and her son. Pratibha Parmar directed the episode, called “Do You Believe In Miracles?,” and she spoke with CinemaBlend about the scene that reunited Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni once again.

Pratibha Parmar came to Law & Order: SVU as part of NBCU’s Female Forward program, which works to create gender parity in scripted TV directing. She arrived on SVU with experience in directing documentaries and feature films as well as writing and producing, and “Do You Believe In Miracles?” provided a unique opportunity for this show. Although the case was as dark as fans have come to expect from SVU, Benson had some lovely scenes with her son to celebrate Mother’s Day. 

When I spoke with Parmar about her directing experience on the NBC show, she shared her experience working on those scenes that were lighter than usual, including Chris Meloni’s Stabler turning up for a chance encounter with his former partner and her son: 

It was wonderful, wasn't it? It was so great. It was wonderful to start off the episode with her and Noah [having] a beautiful mother-son moment together and setting up the whole theme of the episode as being Mother's Day and about mothers and their relationships to their daughters or to their sons. And then – oh my goodness – a bonus crossover scene with Chris Meloni! I couldn't believe it. I was like, 'Oh, gosh, this is the best. I could not have imagined it.' To direct a scene with the two of them and with Ryan Buggle, who plays Noah. It was great to do that additional scene, which I don't think goes out in the syndicated version of the show, but it went out on the night when it crossed over with [Organized Crime]. For my first time on SVU, I felt like I'd won the lottery. To direct Mariska and Chris in that scene was just a delight.

Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni were screen partners for over a decade, but it wasn’t until last year that their characters finally reunited after many years apart. The issue of how he left and that pesky letter were sticky points between them, and she had yet to introduce him to her son despite Stabler’s overtures. According to director Pratibha Parmar, it was a “delight” to work with both of them and young Ryan Buggle, who previously opened up about working with his TV mom

The scene was full of smiles to go with the long-awaited meeting, and just what fans who watched live probably needed before the intensity of Organized Crime. When I noted to the director that fans have been wanting to see Stabler meet Noah as more of the saga of Benson and Stabler, Parmar responded:

I saw that there had been an anticipation of that meeting. They understand that fans want a lot more with those two, because the undercurrents have been going on for such a long time. I totally understand that. But I think that was a beautiful meeting and it was so easy between Noah and Stabler. It was such an easy meet, and it felt so organic and cute. Just natural, and let's see what comes of it in the future.

Neither Benson nor Stabler had time to worry or prepare for the prospect of Noah meeting her former partner – who he recognized right away – since they met by chance, and Pratibha Parmar was able to direct a rare SVU scene that can qualify as “cute.” Whether or not anything comes of the “undercurrents” between the two iconic TV characters remains to be seen, but both SVU and Organized Crime have been renewed for another season, with the potential for more crossovers. 

The final minutes of “Do You Believe In Miracles?” set up how the case would pick up on Law & Order: Organized Crime, so Parmar had the task of directing SVU’s case of the week as well as setting up the transition over to OC. When I asked if she worked with the director of the OC episode on the transition, she shed some light on how it worked:

No, not at all. I worked with the script and what was written. It was very clear, from the script and in discussion with [showrunner] Warren [Leight] and the writers, what the intention of the scene was and what the tone of the scene was, because they knew what it was going to go into. So they probably would have had that discussion with the director of the OC episode. I think that there was a very kind of a smooth crossover in that way, and I think that's because the showrunners of both shows knew what they wanted and briefed us as the directors on what they wanted.

The two shows have mastered the art of crossing over by this point, and it’s probably safe to say that SVU will share stories with OC again when Season 24 premieres in the fall. Pratibha Parma – whose My Name Is Andrea feature film premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival in June – shared that she’d love to return to SVU and branch out to the other series in the nine-show Dick Wolf TV universe if she has the opportunity, and fans can always rewatch “Do You Believe In Miracles?” streaming with a Peacock subscription over the upcoming summer hiatus.

The final episodes of Law & Order: SVU Season 23 air on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. The finales of all three Law & Order shows are approaching, so be sure to check out our 2022 spring finale schedule for when they and more of TV’s biggest shows will come to an end for the season. 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).