‘Law & Order: SVU’s Mariska Hargitay Can’t Even Escape Costar Chris Meloni on Vacation: PHOTO

by Suzanne Halliburton

Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay said earlier this month that while she was on vacation, she was off duty. So that meant no thoughts about on-screen work or relationships.

Oops. She received a big reminder in Italy. And she laughingly shared a snap for all her Law & Order: SVU friends. It seems Christopher Meloni, aka Elliot Stabler, is so omnipresent, he’s everywhere, even in Venice. Yes, that’s Hargitay standing below the sign for Meloni Bridge, or as it’s called over there “Ponte dei Meloni.”

So what are the odds that Hargitay would run into anything Elliot Stabler related while on a European vacation? Well, she picked one of 400 bridges in and around this water-logged city. This one is in the San Polo district. That’s the smallest, but probably the busiest, in the city.

Hargitay and family have vacationed in Italy for at least the past week. She’s shut off Olivia Benson and potential Law & Order: SVU plotlines in favor of sipping wine, eating some pasta, and maybe finishing it off with a cup of gelato.

A day ago, she shared a snap of herself with her husband, Peter Hermann, who she met on the set of Law & Order: SVU two decades ago.

They look so happy, don’t you think?

When Hargitay gets back to NYC, she’ll have to start thinking about Benson. Maybe she’ll have some thoughts about her work husband and whether her character ever gets together with Stabler. The two were OG partners on Law & Order: SVU. But Stabler was married for all those years. When Meloni asked for more money in 2011, NBC wrote him out of the show. That was that, until it wasn’t.

In April 2021, Meloni and Law & Order: Organized Crime debuted as another spinoff. Stabler explained that he’d been working undercover in Italy. When his character returned home, Kathy, his wife, died in a car bombing. Richard Wheatley was responsible but never convicted. Now that Wheatley also is dead (we think), it doesn’t matter.

That left Stabler and Benson with some will she/won’t he screen time, thanks to an occasional crossover. The two talked around the subject. After all, they hadn’t seen each other in a decade. They bumped into each other at Mother’s Day brunch. And Benson helped Stabler as he went undercover to investigate some rogue cops.

But Olivia also wants to be happy. And in the Law & Order: SVU season 23 finale, she talked to a therapist about a work-life balance. As she toyed with the idea of a relationship with Stabler, maybe another man might woo her. Yes, that was the cliffhanger. Rafael Barba came back into Liv’s life and said that he loved her.

Who knows. Maybe bumping into the Meloni bridge will sway her back Stabler’s way. She still has a few weeks before production begins for Law & Order: SVU, so stay tuned.