‘Law & Order: SVU’: Paul Wesley Faced Tough Competition To Land His Role

by Lauren Boisvert

Before he was known for playing Stefan Salvatore on “The Vampire Diaries,” Paul Wesley actually had a few roles on “Law & Order: SVU.” He played teenage wrestler Danny in the season 2 episode “Wrong Is Right,” who was assaulted by his friend’s guardian and was key in helping Benson and Stabler figure out that the guy was a predator. He also played Luke in the “Criminal Intent” episode “Malignant.”

In the “SVU” episode “Ripped,” Wesley was the main character under scrutiny. He played high school baseball player Luke Breslin, who had been experimenting with steroids; that was evident when he hauled off and punched Fin while being questioned. He assaulted a girl at his high school, but figured he’d get away with it because his father was a cop, none other than Stabler’s former partner, Pete Breslin.

The episode explores why the Breslin’s are so aggressive, but it also lets Stabler reflect on his own aggressive, abusive father. It’s a great introspective episode about Stabler.

As for Paul Wesley, he actually had to beat out some big Hollywood names for his role. “Law & Order: SVU” casting director Jonathan Strauss has discussed his process for casting the show, and specifically what he was looking for in the Luke Breslin role. According to Strauss, “Ripped” was a difficult episode to cast, because of the way he needed Breslin to look; like a kid dabbling in steroids.

“Penn Badgley, Chris Carmack, Vincent Piazza, and Channing Tatum all auditioned for that role. I did major sessions on both coasts for that,” Strauss told Buzzfeed in 2014. Tough competition, but Wesley won out. Maybe because he’d been on “SVU” previously and they knew what he could bring to the table, but also because he had just the right look.

‘Law & Order: SVU’ Fans Debate Benson and Stabler’s Defining Moment

Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler are unlike any other pair on television; they’ve had such a long history, basically a marriage without being married. Fans have recently been debating which episode shows their relationship in a new light. When did they turn that corner in their relationship from being work friends to being something stronger? They always had a sort of chemistry, but when did it change?

A lot of fans on Reddit claim it was the season 7 episode “Fault.” One fan wrote, “You could do an entire top ten list of EO scenes just from that episode alone […] The episode on its own is a pretty classic relationship/romantic arc — they fight, there are miscommunications, they ‘break up’, they protect each other, etc.”

The episode involves a child molester taking two children hostage after killing the family. When Benson and Stabler hunt down the guy, he has the boy with a knife to his throat. The situation causes Benson to panic, and the suspect slashes her throat. Instead of going after the suspect, Stabler rushes to Benson’s side. The injury isn’t life-threatening, but because they didn’t go after the guy, he kills the little boy.

Benson and Stabler have to deal with the grief and blame and call their personal relationship into question. Stabler reveals that Benson is “the only thing [he has] left.”