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Law & Order SVU‘s Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler have been shipped together for years, now. Mariska Hargitay has been fielding questions about the two characters coming together almost since the show’s inception. But lately, she’s grown more fascinated with another kind of shipping.

Mariska Hargitay reveals the kind of ‘shipping’ she wants ‘Law & Order SVU’ fans to really focus on

Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler, Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson, looking at each other.
Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay | Eric Liebowitz/Getty Images

Hargitay and Meloni’s characters have been involved in a sort of ‘will they, won’t they’ sub-plot for decades. At one point, this pairing seemed unlikely. Meloni’s Stabler was married with kids, then Meloni would leave the show entirely. This allowed Hargitay’s Benson to explore other romantic interests in the show, which had been rarely touched on before.

Benson’s love interests seldom worked out, however, and the character is still single and married to her work in SVU. But Meloni’s recent return has begun to heat up conversations about a Stabler and Benson pairing.

What’s further fueled the fire were the two characters nearly kissing in a very recent season. They didn’t solidify the relationship, but they were closer than they’d ever been crossing their platonic line.

But Hargitay has been asked so much about this potential relationship, that she admitted to growing weary of the question. In an interview with Parade, she was asked if she wanted to share a message to any Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson shippers.

“No, only because I’ve been asked this question so many times, I can’t deal with it,” she said. “I want them to ship female empowerment. I want them to ship good leadership and the fact that we are in it together. I want them to ship fierce female friendships and women supporting women and allowing each other and ourselves to have our voice.”

Mariska Hargitay was looking forward to pairing with someone else other than Chris Meloni in first ‘Law & Order SVU’ audition

Hargitay has long since confided that her connection with Meloni was immediate and intense when they first met. So much so that she couldn’t picture anyone else leading SVU alongside her.

“I walked in, saw him, and I went, ‘That guy. That’s the guy.’ It went deep, very fast. We both knew that it was something big. I won’t say that I fully understood it, but I knew that meeting him was important and life-changing. My father, my husband, Dick Wolf and Chris are the four pillar men in my life. And that happened early,” she told People.

However, there was another actor she was expecting to collaborate with before setting her eyes on Meloni. She heard that John Slattery of Mad Men would also be auditioning for the part. Speaking on Late Night with Seth Meyers, she explained that she briefly mistook Slattery for her future co-star. If only because she was already familiar with the other actors who auditioned for Stabler.

“I knew the other two guys, so I knew that they weren’t Slattery,” she said.

Why Mariska Hargitay would like to see Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson end up together


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Meloni once stated he’s not sure if he’d want Stabler and Benson to be together. But Hargitay was more than sure about wanting to see their characters become a couple. She feels that they’ve earned their romance after so many years.

“There is no show in the history of television when characters have been together so long that the relationships are truly earned, are truly organic. So, Chris and I can go to places that no one else can because we lived it. Everything is so much deeper,” she told Entertainment Tonight.