Law And Order: SVU Star Opens Up About Playing Benson's Son With Mariska Hargitay, Plus Chris Meloni's Splits

Ryan Buggle and Mariska Hargitay as Noah and Benson on Law and Order: SVU
(Image credit: NBC)

Law & Order: SVU may be one of the darkest shows on network television, but the relationship between Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and her son Noah (Ryan Buggle) adds some heartwarming layers to the crime drama. Sure, sometimes the Noah storylines can involve kidnappings and near-death experiences. Still, there’s a lot to love about Noah and his mom, and the young actor opened up about playing that relationship with Hargitay, as well as what happens when Law & Order: Organized Crime’s Christopher Meloni is in the mix.

Now 13 years old, Ryan Buggle debuted on SVU as Noah back in early Season 19, in 2017. Season 24 has been quite eventful for the young actor, with Noah meeting his half brother, then being targeted by a gang and being sent away from Benson for his own safety. He has shared a lot of scenes with Mariska Hargitay over the years, who has been playing Benson since before he was born. Speaking with CinemaBlend, Buggle shared what he has learned from his TV mom: 

I have learned so many things from Mariska. My favorite thing that I've learned from her is probably to always act with your heart. Always act with your heart and only act because you love performing.

Mariska Hargitay has certainly been bringing a lot of heart to her role as Olivia Benson, which has helped the character remain so relevant and beloved after more than twenty years in primetime. Ryan Buggle only had good things to say about working with her, and not many actors can boast getting advice from such a seasoned star at such a young age. He also shared that working on SVU has helped him build a love for performing: 

Everyone on SVU is so amazing. I've made so many friends and a bunch of family members from that.

Ryan Buggle previously opened up about the perks of working with Ice-T (Fin Tutuola) as well as Mariska Hargitay, and he credited his TV mom with keeping him involved in the story of Noah coming out as bisexual back in Season 23. SVU fans can certainly enjoy knowing that working on the show has been such a positive experience for the teen, especially considering how heavy the show is! 

Of course, Ryan Buggle has also had the chance to work with a former Law & Order: SVU star courtesy of crossovers featuring Law & Order: Organized Crime lead Christopher Meloni. SVU and OC delayed letting Noah and Stabler meet for some time due to the complications between Benson and her former partner, but they were officially introduced in Season 23 in a scene that the director described as “a delight.”

Buggle explained what his experience has been like when he has filmed with Christopher Meloni (who is definitely not feuding with Ice-T), saying:

Chris is so awesome. He is also like the funniest person ever… He also does random splits in scenes. [laughs] Like when [finished] filming a scene, he just does a split. But I think I can go deeper than him.

Meloni has been known to show off his skills with splits on social media in the past, and apparently Ryan Buggle has seen him doing it as well! The Noah Benson actor has some dance background (which he was able to bring to SVU), so when I suggested that maybe there should be a splits competition with Meloni, he said “I think there should.”

Whether or not there’s ever a splits competition between the Stabler and Noah stars, Buggle weighed in on what it’s like to film with Meloni and Mariska Hargitay at the same time:

It is very special. I always pinch myself knowing that I get to film scenes with amazing people.

It’s safe to say that plenty of SVU and Organized Crime fans would love to see more of Noah interacting with Stabler, especially after a recent episode established that Stabler picked him up from staying with his half brother. The car trip happened off-screen, so it would be fun to see them back on screen together. That may depend on what Benson decides she’s ready for, though!

You can revisit all of Ryan Buggle’s appearances as Noah Benson on Law & Order: SVU so far with the series streaming via a Peacock Premium subscription, and new episodes air on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.