‘Law & Order: SVU’ Star Opens Up About Emotional Scene With Mariska Hargitay

by Allison Hambrick

Law & Order: SVU actor Ryan Buggle explained how Mariska Hargitay helped him prepare ahead of a tough, emotional scene.

In the most recent episode of SVU, Noah Benson, played by Buggle, came out to his mother, played by Hargitay. The previous episode, “Silent Night, Hateful Night,” saw Noah dealing with bullies at school. A week later, more details about his mistreatment came to light. Not only was Noah bullied at school, but he also was forced to wear a dog collar, eat dog food, and be locked in a cage. When it comes to light that the bully, Hudson, was targeting LGBTQ+ kids, Noah emotionally comes out to his mother.

“Filming this episode was such an important, incredible and exciting experience for me,” Buggle revealed in an interview. “[Mariska Hargitay] personally called me to talk about the script before it was finished and I felt so involved and respected. It is incredible to see Noah beginning to discover who he is.”

As one would expect, Benson was extremely supportive of her son. Buggle is proud of the messages the show put forward, and he feels respected by Hargitay including him in the creative process.

“My feelings are the same, there is no shame in being true to yourself, and no one deserves to be left out or bullied because of it,” the young actor said.

Law & Order: SVU Fans Debate Benson’s Reaction to Noah’s Bullies

Over on the SVU subreddit, fans have mixed feelings about Benson’s response to Hudson. While Elliot Stabler would have threatened Hudson, Benson was decidedly less aggressive. She instead spoke to the bully’s mother and reassured her son.

“Why did Olivia not react to Noah being locked in a dog cage by a sadistic child?” the thread’s creator began. “I thought for sure she was going to head back to that apartment, whip out her badge, put her gun down on the dining room table with a loud thunk and have a serious talk with the boy who likes to put dog collars on other children.” 

Alternatively, some felt that Benson’s response was better. Firstly, it was more in character for her to be reasonable. Secondly, she’s smart enough to know that behavior could make Noah’s life more difficult. No teenager wants Mommy to fight their battles.

“Honestly, I was really glad that Olivia reacted the way she did,” another SVU fan responded. “Can you imagine what it would be like for Noah if his mom went nuclear on anyone and everyone who treats him in a way she doesn’t like? That would be mayhem. Noah wasn’t in immediate danger. She saw what happened, she had a weird feeling about it, she discussed it with Noah.” 

No matter what take the fans had on Benson’s response, they all agreed that Hudson would be much worse off if he had bullied one of Stabler’s children.