Law And Order: SVU’s Mariska Hargitay Reveals A Key Benson And Stabler Moment That Was Improvised By Christopher Meloni, And Now I Love It Even More

 Stabler and Benson in apartment in Law & Order: Organized Crime.
Stabler and Benson in apartment in Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Throughout Law & Order: SVU’s 25-season run, fans have been anxiously waiting to see Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler’s relationship grow into something more. The former partners have clear yet complicated feelings for each other, and the fact that Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni have been close since their L&O auditions only helps deepen that chemistry. Now, Hargitay is revealing that a key moment between them was actually improvised, and it makes me love Bensler even more.

Benson and Stabler’s personal and professional relationship is arguably one of the best parts of SVU, because the pair truly cares for one another and the same can be said for the actors. While looking back at her time on the long-running NBC drama with Vanity Fair, Hargitay watched a scene from Season 9, Episode 9, “Paternity,” where Stabler suddenly hugged Benson after both Kathy and the baby were doing well following an accident. It turns out that viewers weren’t the only ones pleasantly surprised by this, as the actress said:

If I’m correct, I think that’s the first time [Benson and Stabler] ever hugged on the show. And [Chris] surprised me with it, and it was so right. And, in that scene, I think it’s somewhere where you can feel everything unspoken almost more than the spoken word. Chris and I were very careful and very judicious when we interacted physically.

It only took nine seasons for the two to really show any affection toward each other, and it made the scene awfully special. Now, it's an even better scene because it was all Meloni who decided to do the hug, taking both Hargitay and Benson by genuine surprise. It was definitely the start of a new kind of relationship between the two of them, even if fans had been rooting for the duo since the start of the series.

There have been a lot of Bensler moments over the years that have helped solidify their relationship and further prove that they work well together, both professionally and personally. It surely helps that even after all these years, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni have a close relationship.

In May, the two reunited ahead of the Law & Order finales, and it made me want even more Benson and Stabler. There wasn’t an on-screen reunion between the characters in the finales, but she did call him after giving away the compass necklace, which he understood.

It might be a little harder now for there to be an on-screen Bensler reunion since Organized Crime is moving to streaming and will be available through a Peacock subscription come Season 5. It isn’t completely out of the question tough. Plus, fans did have to wait over 10 years for Meloni to return to the Law & Order franchise. Surely, they can wait a little bit to see Bensler hug once again.

Waiting for Benson and Stabler to be reunited again does give fans the chance to rewatch SVU and Organized Crime on Peacock and look even closer at more Bensler scenes. If Christopher Meloni improvised one scene, who knows how many more he and Mariska Hargitay came up with.