Law & Order

Why Benson and Tucker Broke Up in Law & Order: SVU

Law & Order: SVU’s Benson and Tucker were a strong duo on screen until their break-up affected the viewers and characters deeply

Benson and Tucker SVU


  •  Before Ed Tucker was Olivia Benson’s romantic partner in Law & Order: SVU , he was a nemesis of the SVU squad. He repeatedly investigated detectives in the unit, even arresting Olivia when she was framed for murder.
  •  In later seasons, Ed Tucker and Olivia Benson became friends due to mutual respect. This would lead to them beginning a relationship.
  •  After Tucker expressed his desire to retire from the NYPD, Benson realized they were on different life paths and decided to end their relationship.

Law & Order is a long-running crime drama franchise, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is the longest-running show within the TV series. Throughout the twenty-five seasons of the show, Olivia Benson is the longest-running character and the main character of the overall series. Benson is one of the most beloved drama characters of all time, capturing the hearts of fans with her passion and determination.

Fans of SVU disagree on many aspects of the show, but one thing most viewers can agree on is that Olivia Benson deserves a happy life. This happiness can come from various different things, including her son Noah, but some fans are convinced Olivia deserves a life partner. After many years, the union of Ed Tucker and Olivia Benson seemed to be a romantic endgame. However, their relationship didn’t last long, and the two long-running characters would end their romantic partnership with mutual understanding and respect.

Benson And Tucker Had a Rocky Beginning On SVU

Many fans agree that Ed Tucker is one of the best recurring characters on Law & Order: SVU. However, he wasn’t always a popular character. When he was a sergeant in the Internal Affairs Bureau, most of the police force didn’t trust him or any of his colleagues. Though viewers can recognize the need for a real-life bureau that investigates the wrongdoings of police, Tucker and the other IAB detectives were considered the nemesis of the dedicated SVU detectives who sometimes broke the rules to find evidence and apprehend dangerous criminals.

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Ed Tucker was a considerable pain for the SVU squad, especially considering how Elliot Stabler often became hostile and even violent toward suspected sexual predators. He was undoubtedly a villain in the earlier seasons when he was a sergeant and then a lieutenant for IAB. He repeatedly investigated Stabler, some of which were due to Elliot’s aggression and another due to a juvenile wrongfully accusing the detective to get out of trouble. After Stabler left SVU, Tucker was once again a nemesis, often looking into the aggressiveness of Olivia Benson’s new partner, Nick Amaro, and their colleague Amanda Rollins. In another memorable case, he also arrested Olivia when she was framed for murder. While the audience can see that Tucker was just doing his job, it’s also reasonable that Olivia had hostility and distrust of him.

Tucker Had a Defining Turning Point In the Series

Ed Tucker From SVU

After many years of Tucker being a recurring character on the show, viewers began to see the likable side of him. This was first seen at the end of Season 16 when he mentions recommending Olivia as Lieutenant of the SVU squad. Once this mutual respect is established, Tucker is occasionally shown to give genuine concern and interest to Benson. At that point, he was the Captain of the Internal Affairs Bureau. Though he was still a concern for Olivia, who would soon become the leader of her squad, he looked more like an ally rather than an enemy.

A notable turning point for Ed Tucker’s character was Season 17, Episode 11, “Townhouse Incident,” which is also the best episode in this season of SVU. In this sequence, Olivia is taken captive after going to investigate a family’s strange behavior, whom her son’s babysitter also worked for. The audience learns that Ed was once an Emergency Service Unit officer and uses his skills to negotiate with the team holding Olivia and the family captive. When she is finally out of the situation, and Tucker goes to comfort her after helping save her and the family, his character is looked upon much more favorably. In a later episode of Season 17, Tucker investigates the criminal activity of Deputy Commissioner Hank Abraham and, instead of protecting the high-ranking man, condemns Abraham’s actions and pushes for the man to own up to his crimes.

Tucker and Olivia Began a Romance That Wouldn’t Last

  • It is revealed that Ed and Olivia have begun a romantic relationship in Season 17, Episode 15, “Collateral Damage.”

In the same episode concerning Hank Abraham’s case, it is teased that Ed and Olivia’s relationship has moved from platonic to romantic. In the final moments, the two are seen looking for a place to sit down together, with the two affectionately touching each other as they walk down the streets of New York City. From this point on, Tucker and Benson engage in a romantic relationship while keeping it separate and private from their professional life. In Season 17, Episode 18, “Unholiest Alliance,” when Tucker’s priest cousin is investigated for his involvement in a sex trafficking ring, ADA Barba learns of this relationship when Olivia becomes defensive of Tucker.

Many viewers believe that Olivia Benson deserves a partner she can share her life with, and for a short period, it seemed like Ed Tucker would be a great life-long match. However, this romantic relationship was quickly squashed when the two realized they wanted different things out of life. In Season 18, Tucker reveals he wants to retire from the NYPD and asks Olivia to do so as well. Olivia Benson is known for being dedicated to her work and chooses to end their relationship shortly after. This was a heartbreaking breakup, but it was also endearing to see Olivia emphasize her passion for helping victims while also encouraging Ed to go out and live the life he desires.

Tucker’s Demise Closed the Door On This SVU Love Story

Tucker in Law & Order SVU
  • Ed Tucker’s final appearance and death occur in Season 21, Episode 12, “The Longest Night Of Rain.”

After their romance concludes, Ed Tucker is seen very little on SVU. He reappears in Season 21 when Olivia learns that he is dying of cancer and is concerned about leaving his new wife to care for a sick man. In a tragic turn of events, the episode concludes with Ed taking his own life to prevent the suffering of his family. Though there are some great character exits on Law & Order: SVU, this was a shocking and upsetting demise. Many viewers thought Ed Tucker had an exceptional character arc throughout the long-running drama and believed he deserved better than the conclusion he received.

Ultimately, Ed and Olivia’s relationship ended years before his death. On the other hand, some viewers still shipped this romantic partnership and held out hope that they would one day reunite. Ed’s marriage may have complicated this romance, but it was his death that solidified that he and Olivia are not end game. Many viewers even argue that Ed and Olivia were a better match than Olivia and Elliot Stabler, despite the Stabler/Benson romance being hinted at throughout much of the series.

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Throughout the twenty-five seasons of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Olivia Benson has been the heart and soul of the show. However, her love life throughout the years has been lackluster, with many viewers wishing she would one day find a life partner. After her on-and-off-again relationship with Brian Cassidy, she seemed to find a love match with Ed Tucker. In an emotional turn of events, Olivia Benson stayed true to her character and chose to end her relationship with Tucker when they wanted different things.


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