Are Law And Order's Benson And Stabler Ever Gonna Get Together? Mariska Hargitay Has Thoughts

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(Image credit: NBC)

You know, it’s been well over two decades since Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler burst onto the scene in Law & Order: SVU and hit fans with all of their awesome, chemistry-filled, detective work. We were left hanging when it came to their romantic potential, though, when Christopher Meloni left the show in 2011, which is why his triumphant return to Stabler and Mariska Hargitay’s Benson made fans so delirious last April. While their friendship is still strong (even with that messy reunion), the people want to know: Are Benson and Stabler ever going to finally get together? As you might imagine, Hargitay has lots of opinions on the matter!

What Does Mariska Hargitay Say Now About Benson And Stabler’s Romantic Potential?

Obviously, when Christopher Meloni returned to his role as Stabler after a decade-long absence, he and Mariska Hargitay were immediately required to talk a lot about what might come of all that unfulfilled sexual tension between Benson and Stabler. Both of them know it’s there and understand how badly most fans want the two together in a Biblical way, despite their long separation and Stabler having just lost his wife, Kathy. And, as Hargitay recently told People, while they’re both very open to the idea of romance between their characters, they have to do it right if they go down that road:

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.

A “bond” indeed. No fan will forget the thrilling and shocking moment of Law & Order: Organized Crime’s first season, where Stabler blurts out “I love you!” to Benson…in front of all of his kids, shortly after his wife’s murder. Of course, he pulled back from the apparent truth of that statement so fast that it gave everyone in the room (and everyone watching) whiplash, but all us Bensler fans knew what was going on. 

Of course, it’s not just important for the shows to wait on this romance because of his late wife (who was actually behind that much-talked about letter), but because of how long it’s been since Benson and Stabler have been face to face. As Hargitay noted about a month ago, Benson is rightfully feeling pretty gun shy, because she and Stabler were radio silent until his sudden return in 2021. So, even though Benson’s “been in love with him for many a year,” she’s “hurt” because “he left me in a lurch for 10 years.”

Hargitay was also asked what the potential couple’s first date might look like, and while viewers would surely want it to be a big, romantic affair, she doesn’t seem to agree, and said:

It's a lot of pressure. I don't even know the answer to that. It makes me nervous just thinking about it. Let's just go out to dinner, let's start there.

Basically, Bensler fans, we’re just going to have to keep watching to see how the relationship between Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson and Christopher Meloni’s Elliot Stabler develops, because it seems like we’re going to continue to have quite a wait on our hands, especially if we want to see these two share more than a meal with one another. 

Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime return Thursday, February 24, at 9 p.m. EST and 10 p.m. EST, respectively. For more to watch, check out the 2022 TV premiere dates

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.