Could Benson and Barba Have Been the Next Mulder and Scully on SVU?

Could Benson and Barba Have Been the Next Mulder and Scully on SVU?
Image credit: NBC

Benson and Barba: the SVU version of Laverne and Shirley (but with more guns).

Law & Order: SVU is one of the longest-running TV series in history, so it is no surprise that over decades several close relationships have formed between its characters. In particular, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay ) and Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza) eventually became close friends. But some fans also believe that Benson and Barba would have formed the best romantic pairing on the series.

How justified are they in their opinion?

Detective Olivia Benson was a part of SVU since the very beginning and eventually reached the rank of Captain in command of the SVU squad. She had long been the central character of the series.

ADA Rafael Barba, on the other hand, was only one of more than a dozen ADAs who worked with the SVU over the years, though the longest-serving one (from Season 14 to Season 19, then Season 21 and Season 22 saw him returning for one episode each), as well as one of the most beloved by audience.

During Barba's stint on the series, he and Benson developed not merely a strong working relationship, but also personal ties, and became more than just colleagues. But how much more?

Certainly there is no doubt that they had strong friendship with each other, and remained in contact even after Barba left the squad. But some fans believe that there were strong hints of romance in their relationship, and regret that those hints went nowhere. With dialogue like this, they may be not wrong.

Barba: What are you gonna be doing when you're 85?

Benson: Squabbling with you?

Barba: Wouldn't that be nice.

But most of the SVU fandom, it seems, likes the fact that Benson and Barba simply remained good friends - unlike Mulder & Scully, who after one of the longest "will they, won't they" in TV history ended up in a romantic relationship after all. At the very least, suggestions of romance between Benson and Barba are controversial. As the most popular answer in the Reddit discussion, caused by such a suggestion, said:

"Not every male/female relationship needs to be romantic or sexual. Sometimes it's just nice to see two friends that care about each other."

The question is in the realm of "what could have been?" in any case, as Barba's return as one of the main characters seems pretty unlikely at this point.