Law & Order

What Mariska Hargitay Wants for Benson and Stabler: “Our Chemistry Is Undeniable”

It’s the slowest will-they-won’t-they in TV history, of course it won’t be wrapped up any time soon!

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans have been clamoring for Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) to get together ever since Stabler returned from a years-long sojourn in Italy, which conveniently coincided with the death of his wife, Kathy.

With their years-long friendship and baggage keeping them apart, it’s understandable why Elliot and Olivia haven’t jumped into a romantic relationship. Now, star and executive producer Hargitay gives more insight into why.

What Mariska Hargitay sees for Stabler and Benson’s future

“We want to hold the tension,” Hargitay told Variety for their annual Power of Women issue about herself and Meloni, explaining why fans are constantly left questioning their relationship status. She added that their goal as actors is to “do what’s right and truthful for both characters.”

Hargitay acknowledged that she and Meloni, or rather, Elliot and Olivia, make a very romantic pair. “Our chemistry is undeniable. It’s just the way it is,” she said.


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Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni attend NBC's "Law & Order" Press Junket

Hargitay and Meloni had chemistry from the start

The veteran actress also reflected on how she bonded so quickly with her co-star. They shared a sense of humor, she said, explaining, “We were all about the work and laughing at the same time — and keeping everyone happy.”

“Mariska and Chris looked like they had been working together for five years,” said Dick Wolf of their first season together. Hargitay added that the two actors didn’t mince words — during long days on set, you have to cut to the chase. They could say “I know you can do better” and “Tell the f-cking truth and stop your bullsh-t” to one another the way only true friends can.


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