Should ‘SVU’ and ‘Organized Crime’ Put Benson & Stabler Together Next Season? (POLL)
For 12 years on Law & Order: SVU, fans watched partners Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) work side-by-side and flirt a bit with a will-they-won’t-they relationship. But he was married, and even when he and Kathy (Isabel Gillies) were separated, nothing happened. However, it looks like after Kathy’s death to kick off his Organized Crime spinoff, that could very well change.
After all, it’s felt like the Law & Order world has leaned into their relationship more than ever since Meloni returned to our screens as Stabler. When his wife was dying in the hospital after getting blown up (in an explosion they thought was meant for him at the time), he spent more time with Benson than Kathy. His wife even seemed to assume that the former partners had been in touch over the past decade, even though Stabler claimed they hadn’t been.
Then came the letter Stabler wrote Benson instead of a speech for the award she was supposed to be accepting the night of the bombing. We still don’t know what he wrote, though whatever it is was meaningful enough that Benson went to his apartment building late at night to try to discuss it. (He brushed her off.)
The biggest moment came in the form of an “I love you” bombshell, dropped by Stabler, in the middle of the intervention his kids and Benson held for his PTSD. (He covered with the expected follow-up, “I love all of you,” but those words are now out there.)
“We know that she means a great deal to him,” Organized Crime showrunner Ilene Chaiken told TV Insider. “There’s no question that he has love for her, whether it’s romantic love, I don’t know and I’m not ready to answer yet. But it was definitely something that came out during a moment of unfiltered agony and confusion for Stabler.”
It’s still up in the air if anything will happen, but SVU did end with a moment between the partners, at Fin (Ice-T) and Phoebe’s (Jennifer Esposito) non-wedding. (They decided they were happy as they are.) Stabler arrived late and asked how the couple met. She was his first partner, Benson said, and the two exchanged a significant glance before toasting to partners.
Then over on Organized Crime, mobster Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) revealed that he knew how important Benson is to his nemesis. Kathy wasn’t “the love of his life,” Richard said. “Yes, she was the mother of his children and he cared for her…but plot twist, there’s someone else. Another woman who’s the one true love of his life.” That has to be addressed going forward.
It would’ve been too soon to do something right after Kathy’s death (though it did seem the focus shifted to Benson and Stabler while she was already alive). But because this is TV and these are dramas and Angela (Tamara Taylor) sort of served as a rebound for Stabler, it’s not impossible to imagine something happening between the former partners in the 2021-2022 season. The One Chicago universe has shown that crossover romances can be successful and can be used as a template for how Law & Order can handle that.
One thing is for sure: The shows can’t continue to include weighty moments like the ones they did this season and not at least have the former partners discuss their history, present, and possible future for too long.
But what do you think? Vote in our poll below.
Law & Order: SVU, Season 23, Fall 2021, NBC
Law & Order: Organized Crime, Season 2, Fall 2021, NBC