Law & Order has been reinventing the police procedural genre since first gracing the tube nearly three decades ago. While predominantly acclaimed for its popular crime format involving the investigation of a crime and subsequent prosecution of the defendant, the softer side of the franchise has also kept ratings for the popular universe high. With plenty of different budding relationships strewn throughout the series and its subsequent spinoffs, a fan-favorite duo recently had potential love-interest suspicions confirmed through long-time Law & Order star and producer, Mariska Hargitay.
The 58-year-old producer and star of Law & Order: SVU recently appealed to the series fans confirming long-standing rumors regarding her character, Olivia Benson, and her relationship with Chris Meloni’s Eliot Stabler. Speaking with Drew Barrymore on her talk show, Mariska Hargitay was asked about the possibility of the two characters ever finally getting their break at dating. And to the fan’s delight, the actress only had good things to say about what’s in store for the couple’s relationship in the future. Noting the long history between the characters, Hargitay talked about much of the turmoil the partners have lived through during their 12 season stint as partners. “We’re trying to figure out what to do [on the show]. … He is free, and I think he’s got eyes for me. But Olivia Benson is hurt! I mean, he left me in a lurch for 10 years. She’s frightened. The energy is there. Olivia’s been in love with him for many a year, and I think that we are slowly finding our way back to it, but I want to give him the amount of time he needs to grieve Kathy Stabler.” You can see the video below.
Mariska Hargitay first appeared alongside Christopher Meloni on Law & Order: SVU in 1999. Meloni’s Stabler was a temperamental detective paired with Hargitay’s Benson, the daughter of a sexual assault survivor who went on to become a survivor herself. With an indelible bond through their work on the force and a unique understanding that only partners have, the two were almost instantly beloved by fans, with many hoping the chemistry would lead to an on-screen romance. The actors on screen performance together was an instant hit, with both often claiming to share similar chemistry off-screen as well.
However, fans’ hopes and dreams were crushed in 2011 with the announcement that Christopher Meloni was hanging up Stabler’s badge and leaving Law & Order citing contract negotiation issues. In the series, Stabler’s abrupt final appearance in the climactic season 12 finale found the detective at a crossroads after killing a young woman who opened fire in the squad room. Ten long years since last appearing on the show, Meloni announced his return to the crime franchise and once again appeared on screen alongside Mariska Hargitay for the most important SVU crossover episode possibly filmed. To make things more tantalizing for the Benson-Stabler shippers, the return of the beloved character came about through the tragic death of his wife, foreshadowing even greater odds of seeing the partners spark romance.
While Mariska Hargitay’s revelation on the Drew Barrymore show is undeniably rousing news for fans, there’s no confirmation that things will work out for the duo. Law & Order: SVU creator Dick Wolf, isn’t exactly against the idea of Benson and Stabler getting together. However, he’s also not rushing to heed to fans’ requests to bring them together. Speaking on the budding romance last year, Wolfe warned fans not to anticipate the series ever depicting the two running off together and living out a blissful life. Saying, “Anticipation is the most exciting part of most relationships… the chase is always better,” we can’t help but agree with the mastermind behind the franchise.