‘Law & Order: SVU’ Fans Discover Key Benson-Stabler Clue That Could Change Romantic Storyline

by Suzanne Halliburton

It’s summer. There are weeks until the fall TV season premieres. So that means it’s a perfect time to discuss Law & Order: SVU and whether Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler ever will get together.

So, when it comes to this potential Law & Order: SVU coupling, are you team #romance or #friendzone? Fans got to musing again when NBC brought back Christopher Meloni (Stabler) last spring to star in Law & Order: Organized Crime. This was after a decade-long absence from the Law & Order universe. Mariska Hargitay, as Olivia Benson, never left SVU. She’s at 517 episodes and counting. Stabler now is available as a romantic prospect. He’s no longer her partner, and his wife, Kathy, died in the Organized Crime season one kickoff.

Earlier this month, fans on Reddit brought up the coupling again. Because there’s no time like rerun season to speculate on plot lines. A Reddit user with the screen name “idontcare6666” posted a new topic under the Law & Order: SVU subreddit. “I stand by my original opinion on Benson and Stabler’s relationship. Here’s why.” The user sifted through past seasons and is convinced the two share a connection, but not a romantic one. However, the user believes Law & Order will push the two together.

“Given all the speculation and theories about Benson and Stabler’s relationship being romantic … I watched with a different eye. Reading between the lines if you will, and just looking at straight-up information. I can confidently say that there is nothing that indicates a romantic relationship between these two. A powerful bond? You betcha. . A bond that can be described as love? Absolutely. But that’s where it begins and ends.” And then the user compares them to Mulder-Scully, the iconic partners from The X Files. They all went through some dangerous situations, therefore there bond is way deep.

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni partnered on Law & Order: SVU until 2011. This photo is from 2000. (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

A user identified as “a-bananasplit” agreed “100 percent” with the no-romance theory. “I have seen every episode probably 10 times, at LEAST, except for the newest ones, with the Organized Crime crossover. I have watched everything from start through s22 several times in order. (And) I am choosing to not watch the newer seasons (because) I am scared of them starting a romantic relationship and ruining the show for me. I firmly believe there never were and should never be romantic feelings between the two of them. And this is the hill I will die on. Lol.”

Law & Order: SVU writers and those on Organized Crime created an icebreaker for Benson and Stabler last year to restart their friendship and maybe something else. Stabler wrote a letter to Benson. And they finally talked about it. But it was full of mixed signals. Stabler told Benson that Kathy dictated the letter, which gave us a platonic vibe. But he added the part about them being together in a “parallel universe.” The week after the big letter reveal, Stabler tried to call Benson, who didn’t answer the phone. So he left a voice mail.

“I’m just calling to say.” Stabler said. Then he paused for several seconds, ” I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me .. for the kids. You’ve been my rock. … And when I said “I love you” … (pause) … He runs out of time to leave the rest of his message.

There were some crossovers this spring between Law & Order: SVU and spinoff Organized Crime. But none moved the romance scenario very far. Rather, she helped with his investigation of some rogue NYPD officers. Plus, there’s that whole Rafael Barba storyline. Maybe SVU is serving up that coupling to give Benson the happiness she deserves.