‘Law & Order: SVU’ Fans Want Benson to Open Up More

by Allison Hambrick
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Glamour)

Law & Order: SVU audiences are clamoring for more honesty between Olivia Benson and her former partner Elliot Stabler.

Following Stabler’s exit from SVU after its 12th season, Benson went through it. In season 15, a serial killer kidnapped and tortured the detective. This became a significant point of development for her character thereafter. As a result, fans are wondering how it could be possible that Stabler never provided support for Benson during her recovery.

Many of them are calling for Benson and Stabler to have a come-to-Jesus meeting about her traumatic experiences. It would be cathartic for the SVU characters and the audience alike. After all, Christopher Meloni’s departure from the role of Stabler was abrupt, and the ending between the characters was largely unsatisfying.

“As much as I hated watching the Lewis episodes, I do think it should be mentioned,” wrote one user on Reddit. “It is one of Benson’s darkest and lowest points in where essentially she transformed into Elliot’s rage to beat the crap out of Lewis for what he did to her, and at this point, stabler’s curiosity about his partner would’ve prompted him to look into her past, if anything just to know how she’s been over the years.”

“Stabler can be seen as a lot of things, but at the very least his character has been known to be loyal, overprotective, and concerned for the people he cares about,” they continued. “It doesn’t make sense that he would know everything and not confront her, but it also doesn’t make sense that he’d not know anything.”

Alternatively, some fans expect Law & Order to brush right past what happened between the two. For his part, Meloni doesn’t want to hold anything back.

The Undeniable Bond Between Stabler and Benson

Stabler returned to a different world than he left when he came back to Law & Order. Benson was now the captain. Munch and Cragen left. The relationships he had built were in ruins. Even so, seeing his former partner was arguably the most emotional aspect of his return.

“We’ve reintroduced two characters that their ‘their-ness’ ended abruptly,” Meloni stated. “So you know it’s a long-winded way of saying, it’s complicated.”

Stabler’s departure was abrupt, to say the least. Hargitay felt much the same way as her character when Meloni left. Both actor understand this, and it factors into their onscreen portrayal.

“I think they have a lot of understanding and a lot of healing to got through before things get back to a state of normalcy or understanding,” explained Hargitay. “Where they are in their lives and how each other, truly, deeply fit in with each other.”

While a romantic relationship may or may not be on the table, Benson and Stabler’s relationship remains a priority for Law & Order: Organized Crime showrunner Ilene Chaiken.

“They’re very busy cops who have a lot of other very urgent things on their plates that [kept] them away from one another and from having these conversations,” Chaiken said. “But the truth is that they will have those conversations. Like I keep saying, we’re really determined not to be coy about it and to just really let them grow.”

Onscreen SVU Partnership, Meet Real-life Friendship

The real-life Benson and Stabler have nothing but praise for each other. On and off-screen, they had “each other’s back.”

“He’s always made me feel like I could jump off the ledge, the cliff, the bridge, and he would catch me,” the actress said. “In so many ways—whether it was comedy or acting or friendship.”

As for his Law & Order return, Meloni said being back on set with Hargitay was “Pavlovian: Ring that bell, and you get right into Stabler and Benson.”