It's been nearly two weeks since we've all had time to revel in the fact that Christopher Meloni has finally returned to his Law & Order: SVU family, and had the chance to start his own spinoff with Law & Order: Organized Crime. Of course, the biggest celebration in all of this for fans has been seeing Meloni bring Elliot Stabler back together with Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson after ten years apart. Many (many, many) SVU viewers have been longing for Benson and Stabler to become an official couple for decades, and Meloni has thoughts on whether or not fans might get to see a Bensler romance now that he's back.
If you're an O.G. viewer of Law & Order: SVU, you'll likely know at least two things pretty well. The first, obviously, is that Benson is a boss who always takes care of business, and the second is that she and Stabler were not short on chemistry when he was her partner for the first 12 seasons. The connection between them never went further than deep friendship, but now that Christopher Meloni has returned, might we see the Bensler ship finally set sail? Here's what Meloni told People about the potential:
I think we're going to stumble bumble, as I think most human beings do, through complicated areas or difficult terrain, emotional terrain. What are the answers? Really, There are no answers right now. And I think that's the art and the beauty of what we do, the writers get together and they create these connections or circumstances and the actors get to play them out, so I'm excited. I think there's a world of possibility.
Ooooh. Christopher Meloni is, in deed, correct that there is going to be a lot of stumbling before any smooth sailing in the romance department for Stabler and Benson. His sudden reappearance in her life came at a very trying time for him, and while Benson was immediately by his side and investigating the crime against his wife, Kathy, the former partners still had to have some very awkward conversations.
Stabler left the police force without even giving his long-time friend and partner the benefit of a phone call, and proceeded to never contact her, so even though the two have now begun mending fences, the sting of that likely won't be healed overnight for Benson. On top of that, Stabler clearly has some guilt over not treating her fairly around the time of his departure, and that's now being coupled with the guilt of not saving Kathy and fervor to take down the criminal enterprise which led to her murder. So, yeah, lots of baggage up in that potentially romantic joint!
As Christopher Meloni has noted before, though, he and Mariska Hargitay realized back in the day that they had a natural chemistry which translated well to the screen, so they've always understood why fans wanted their characters to get horizontal. And, he also admits that they and the show played on it, adding:
Obviously, we recognized it when we were together on SVU. We were always kind of toying with that, leaning into that, teasing with that.
If you watched the crossover premiere of Organized Crime, you probably noticed that the chemistry between Benson and Stabler and their potential romantic link are still being teased, even though Stabler's wife was just brutally murdered, so, we can at least count on that being a factor as both shows continue.
Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST, and is followed by Law & Order: Organized Crime, so we can all see how this Bensler ship floats as the weeks go on.