Mariska Hargitay Reveals How She and Chris Meloni Wanted Their Near-Kiss on ‘Law & Order: SVU’ to Actually Go

Mariska Hargitay Reveals How She and Chris Meloni Wanted Their Near-Kiss on ‘Law & Order: SVU’ to Actually Go

For more than two decades, fans have been wondering when Benson and Stabler will take their relationship to the next level.

Ever since Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni reunited onscreen after the latter returned as Detective Elliot Stabler in 2021 to lead his Law & Order spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime, fans have been waiting for the characters to take their relationship to the next level.

For more than two decades now, Detective Olivia Benson (Hargitay) and Stabler’s undeniable chemistry on Law & Order: SVU has been one of the longest-lasting “will they, won’t they” relationships in TV history. Their onscreen chemistry has fueled fans to root for the pair to go from platonic former partners to a romantic couple.

Fans gained hope when a promo video from season 24 of SVU teased an intimate moment between Benson and Stabler in episode 12, titled “Blood Out.” The teaser showed Benson holding Stabler’s face, seemingly just inches away from kissing. But when the episode aired, there was no face-holding and no kiss.

“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 tells Variety in a new interview published on Wednesday. “Obviously [show creator Dick Wolf] gets final say. It’s his show and he didn’t want that.”

When it comes to the possibility of Benson and the widowed Stabler getting together down the line, Hargitay says, “We want to hold the tension and do what’s right and truthful for both characters.”

Then, fans were left with a bit of a cliffhanger in the season 24 finale, when Elliot gifted Olivia a compass necklace during last season’s SVU season 24 finale and Law & Order: Organized Crime crossover episode. In fact, during filming of season 25, Olivia wore the necklace, and Hargitay shared as much in a behind-the-scenes Instagram post back in November.

Chris MeloniMariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni at the 2022 Emmys – Photo by Chris Haston/NBC via Getty Images)
It isn’t the first time Hargitay has vouched for a more romantic connection between the two characters. When ET spoke with the actress in January ahead of Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU’s latest season premiere, she and co-star Ice-T confessed that they’d like to see Olivia and Elliot end up happy together.

“God, yes,” Hargitay responded when asked if she’d like for the former partners to pair up romantically. “There is no show in the history of television when characters have been together so long that the relationships are truly earned, are truly organic. So, Chris and I can go to places that no one else can because we lived it. Everything is so much deeper.”

Ice T, who has played Detective Fin Tutuola alongside Benson almost since the beginning of Law & Order: SVU, said Ice-T the viewer/fan wants to see Olivia and Elliot get it over with, for everyone’s sake, although at first he played it off like he wasn’t all that invested in their relationship.

“Ice doesn’t care. I’ve given up on them. I’m a viewer. So, I’m watching them like, ‘Get to it! Get to the business! Stop playing around,'” he told ET. “‘If you love her, Elliot, let’s get it going now!’ Fin, he just wants Olivia to be happy. So, he’s gonna hold it down. He knows Elliot. Elliot’s his man, too.”

Then Ice-T really went all in on the potential romance.

“But as a viewer, I’m like, ‘Ya’ll need to just hit a motel or something and make it happen,'” he exclaimed.

As for Meloni, he’s on the same wavelength — as long as things get settled for Stabler first.

Speaking to ET halfway through Organized Crime’s first season, the actor said before Benson and Stabler can truly move forward, there are lots of “issues” the two need to resolve to get their relationship back on track. “I think it’s going to require a lot of work, a lot of healing,” Meloni reasoned. “It’s a complicated situation, which I think is going to make both series better.”

He added that when it comes to “something as sacred as this relationship,” everyone on the show has to do their work correctly in order to figure out “if this relationship needs to go to another place.”


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