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Mariska Hargitay Doesn’t Know If Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler Are ‘Endgame’ on ‘SVU’ (Exclusive)

Mariska Hargitay honestly doesn’t know if Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler are endgame on Law & Order: SVU.

“We keep it open. We are very careful with the story, and we want to make sure that it’s dealt with the right way, and that takes just a lot of thought and we’re still in the journey,” Hargitay, 60, told Us Weekly exclusively while promoting her partnership with Purina in New York City on May 6. “I don’t think of endgame yet.”

Hargitay originated the role of now Captain Benson when Law & Order: SVU premiered in 1999. She and Christopher Meloni’s Stabler have had a will-they, won’t-they relationship onscreen for decades. Meloni, 63, vacated his SVU role in 2011 after season 12, but brought the character back to TV in 2021 for Law & Order: Organized Crime.

The actors have been answering questions about the nature of Benson and Stabler’s relationship from the start, but Hargitay made headlines earlier this month when revealing in her Variety cover story earlier this month that there was almost a kiss between the characters, but it got cut.

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The “endgame” question suggests, well, an ending, and Hargitay made it clear that she and Benson aren’t going anywhere yet.

“That’s the thing about being on a marathon. I feel like SVU, I’m still in the race, I’m still in the marathon, and I’ve got a ways to go before the finish line,” she continued. “So, I’m thinking of what’s best and what’s healthiest. What’s enduring and what’s best for now.”

This year, the show celebrated its milestone 25th season with the return of some old characters, including Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins.

“Having my girl back, having Kelli Giddish back is always such a treat for me,” Hargitay added. “I miss her so much and I miss acting with her. So, that was such a joy.”

Mariska Hargitay Doesnt Know If Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler Are Endgame on SVU
Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images

Giddish, 44, played the role of Rollins from seasons 13 to 24. She’s since returned as a guest star throughout season 25 after departing her series regular role last year.

Hargitay went on to say that there were some “challenging” aspects of season 25, including directing her episode, titled “Children of Wolves,” which premiered last month.

“The amazing writers of SVU are so talented and they do so much work and we have such a beautiful partnership and collaboration. So, there were a few times where I would see lines that I’ve said in conversations to them show up in the scripts,” Hargitay told Us. “These are the moments where I see Mariska and Olivia sort of blend and meld and are one. It’s been an incredible and powerful, and a journey and just such a privilege to play this character.”

Other than continuing her role as Benson, Hargitay has teamed up with Purina to unveil the “Courageous Together” Statue by Artist Kristen Visbal. The statue depicts a woman and her dog, connected by a purple leash to represent the first step as survivors leaving an abuser.

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“This wonderful organization, Purina, and I are so like-minded in our goals of wanting to support survivors healing,” Hargitay explained, referencing her own Joyful Heart Foundation, which raises awareness of sexual assault domestic violence and child abuse. “When I found out that Purina is donating their time and resources to making shelters more pet friendly, it just really spoke to my heart.”

Mariska Hargitay Doesnt Know If Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler Are Endgame on SVU
Mariska Hargitay Courtesy of MOVI Inc.

Hargitay explained that “almost 50 percent of survivors delayed leaving their abuser because they were concerned about their pet’s safety.” Purina is leading the Purple Leash Project in partnership with the nonprofit RedRover to help more domestic violence shelters become pet-friendly.

“The fact that anyone would have to think and choose between their own safety and the safety of their pet is just heartbreaking and unacceptable,” Hargitay continued. “I thought it was just a beautiful initiative. And survivors take the courageous step to leave, which is so difficult and isolating. We need to support them in every way that we can, and they should be able to take their whole family — and many times, pets are their family.”

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