Chris Meloni Was Skeptical About a Relationship With Olivia Benson in ‘SVU’

Law & Order SVU has teased a possible romance between Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler for years now. Actor Chris Meloni revealed his thoughts not too long ago about a relationship between the two characters actually happening.

Chris Meloni felt his relationship with Mariska Hargitay was the show’s currency

Chris Meloni Was Skeptical About a Relationship With Olivia Benson in 'SVU'

Meloni and Hargitay were aware of their chemistry the moment they met. The two formed a quick bond with each other even before doing their screentest. One of their first memories together was Meloni making Hargitay laugh by telling her a story. Their bond was only solidified after auditioning together, which would create a friendship that would last for decades.

“I walked in, saw him, and I went, ‘That guy. That’s the guy.’ It went deep, very fast. We both knew that it was something big,” Hargitay told People not too long ago. “I won’t say that I fully understood it, but I knew that meeting him was important and life-changing. My father, my husband, [Law & Order creator] Dick Wolf, and Chris are the four pillar men in my life. And that happened early.”

Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni posing at the Emmys.

The two started off as partners on the show. But as the series progressed, many fans started shipping Meloni’s Stabler and Hargitay’s Benson as a couple. Meloni believed this was inspired by his interactions with his co-star in the real world.

“Well, that’s our currency,” Meloni said in an interview with Parade. “I’ll give the credit to our original SVU showrunner, who set that stage and recognized [the chemistry] as something the audience saw. But I think what they were really seeing was Mariska and my genuine affection for each other, and they ran with it. The fans had a big role in insisting the writers play up that angle just a little bit.”

Although many fans may hope to see a true Stabler and Benson romance arc, Meloni isn’t thrilled about the idea. Still, he’d be willing to make it work if it did happen.

“Well, look, I don’t think so,” Meloni said about wanting a possible hook-up with Benson. “But, to be honest, if they would write it that way, I’d go with it.”

Mariska Hargitay called Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler kiss a long time coming

Meloni conceded that his surprising departure from SVU left the Stabler and Benson dynamic unresolved for a long time. Years later, Meloni would return to the Law & Order universe in the spinoff Organized Crime. It was only a matter of time before he and Hargitay would cross paths on the show again. When they did, the two nearly kissed in what was an intimate and vulnerable moment for them both.

It turned out, however, that Benson and Stabler were initially supposed to fully kiss during the scene. But it was nixed by the showrunners, which Hargitay and Meloni disagreed with.

“To be honest with you, Chris and I thought it should go one way, and the powers that be didn’t, so it got changed at the last minute, that near kiss,” Hargitay told Variety. “Obviously, Dick gets final say. It’s his show, and he didn’t want that.”

Still, the moment teased that an actual Benson and Stabler romance might be inching closer toward becoming a thing. With SVU showing no signs of slowing down, there are plenty of years left to explore this overarching subplot.

“Benson and Stabler love each other deeply. It’s so deep,” Hargitay said in an interview with Today. “The show is probably only going to go another 23 years, so I think we should just wait and see.”

How did Mariska Hargitay react to almost kissing Chris Meloni?

The scene between Hargitay and Meloni wasn’t actually all that difficult for the pair. Their close bond allowed a smooth transition from partners and friends to potential love interests.

“I think both of us, it was such a long time coming; we just want to make sure and get it right,” Hargitay said. “The good news is we are so comfortable around each other; it was effortless and fun, and we trust each other; it was beautiful that way. We just focused on the work.”

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