'Law & Order: SVU': Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni Address Benson-Stabler Romance

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni know how much Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans want Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler to get together. After two decades of tension between the former NYPD partners, Hargitay and Meloni told TV Insider they understand the magic their characters have always had between them.

"It's undefinable, but you know it when you feel it," Meloni said, adding that one of the "main cornerstones" of the long-running relationship is humor. Hargitay continued, "I think the mutual love, respect, chemistry and trust between these two characters creates a unique bond." With Stabler back in New York and newly widowed in the SVU spinoff Law & Order: Organized Crime, the chances of the pair getting together seem greater than ever.

Stabler's cryptic admission that he possibly loved Benson last season was another tease for fans. "It was deliberately [left] open to interpretation," Meloni said, calling the "rich, unexpected" scene one of his favorites. As Organized Crime slowly pushes forward the Stabler-Benson relationship, Meloni admitted the two are playing "deeply emotional and deeply connected scenes that were not part of our [original] relationship on SVU."

"Everyone is working very hard," he added, "to create an authentic, satisfying and difficult journey for these two people." As for what the shows' upcoming seasons will bring? "#Staytuned," Hargitay told the outlet. When Organized Crime returns on Sept. 23, fans will learn if Angela Wheatley (Tamara Taylor) survived the latest hit attempt to keep her from testifying against her ex-husband. That same night on SVU, fans can tune into the 23rd season of the NBC show, which includes the landmark 500th episode of the show. 

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Hargitay's recent injuries, which include a broken knee, fractured ankle and torn ligament, have been written into Benson's story, the actor explained, but it "doesn't slow her down in the least," although fans "might see her behind a desk now and again." Law & Order: SVU returns for Season 23 on Thursday, September 23 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, followed by Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2's premiere at 10 p.m. ET.