Why Christopher Meloni "Loved" Stabler's Declaration of Love to Benson on Law & Order

In an exclusive chat with E! News, Christopher Meloni shared his thoughts on that shocking "I love you" moment on Law & Order: Organized Crime. See what he had to say.

By Alyssa Ray May 13, 2021 4:16 PMTags

The "I love you" heard 'round the world.

We're, of course, talking about the April 22 episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime where Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) seemingly told his former partner Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) he loved her. While the moment left many feeling conflicted, since Stabler is struggling from PTSD following the car bombing that killed his wife Kathy (Isabel Gillies), Christopher exclusively revealed to E! News that he's a fan of the headline-making scene.

"I really mean this, I'm not being queer or cagey, I just think it's unfair and outside my scope to answer that," Christopher said when asked if Stabler really meant to say "I love you" to Benson. "That's what I loved about the moment. It's an interpretative moment. It was specifically written that way for a question like that."

Although we have been secretly shipping the former partners for decades, we can't confidently say that Stabler really meant to declare his love for Benson. Case in point: The quick-to-anger detective said those three words in front of his five children during an intervention about his PTSD. Does that sound like the right moment to profess love? We aren't so sure.

Mariska Hargitay & Christopher Meloni's Best Reunions

Furthermore, Stabler has been struggling to keep his composure as his obsession with Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott), a versatile crime boss, grows. Speaking of Dylan, who joined Christopher for the exclusive chat, he described his character's rivalry with Stabler as "fun."


"The core of the show has been our relationship, thus far," he shared. "Even though we aren't on camera a great deal together, there's something about leading up to our scenes that becomes so compelling I think for the audience and for us."

As he continued, Dylan revealed it's the psychology of a character that compels him to take on roles. In fact, the American Horror Story alum noted that he spoke to his therapist about his criminal character.

"We were just talking, kind of breaking down a few elements," he explained. "I think that the psychology of both men is really fascinating."

He later quipped to his co-star that his therapist is a big fan. "I'll sign an autograph before I leave," the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit alum responded to a laughing Dylan.

Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

For more of Christopher and Dylan, check out their Daily Pop appearance above and be sure to tune into tonight's all-new episode.

Law & Order: Organized Crime airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family).

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