All Olivia Benson wanted on “Law & Order: SVU” for years was a family, and she finally got the child she always dreamed of in season 15 after finding an infant during a case and later adopting him.
Fans have come to know and love Benson’s little boy, Noah Porter Benson, over the years, and after eight seasons on the show, Noah, 9, just had arguably his biggest moment yet: He came out as bisexual.
Ryan Buggle, 12, has played Noah on “SVU” since 2017 and recently spoke to TODAY about Noah’s coming out and how his TV mom, Mariska Hargitay, helped him prepare for the scene.
Hargitay called Ryan in advance to talk through the storyline and make sure he was OK with it.
“She definitely gave me advice,” Ryan said. “It’s ‘Be real and in the moment of what’s happening in the scene and just let everything come from a real natural place.'”
Fans especially loved how Hargitay and Ryan handled Noah’s coming out since the scene played out like any other conversation would between mother and son, while Benson and Noah were going for a walk.
Earlier in the episode, Noah had endured a particularly horrible instance of bullying when a boy he was playing with filmed him on all fours in a cage with a collar on while instructing Noah to “bark like a dog.”
“I think that bullying is wrong, and if it happens to you just know that you matter and you’re important,” Ryan said, “and don’t be afraid to tell a trusted adult — and always be true to yourself.”
Hargitay has become one of those trusted adults for Ryan, and some of Ryan’s favorite memories with the “SVU” icon happened off-screen during sleepovers at Hargitay’s home with her kids, Amaya, 10, Andrew, 10, and August, 15, whom she shares with husband Peter Hermann.
“I said I like yo-yos, and she was like, ‘OK, great!'” Ryan excitedly explained. “So we went to this giant toy store. She literally bought me all the yo-yos there. It was awesome.”
Ryan also added he’s an expert at yo-yo tricks like around the world and walk the dog.
When it comes to video games, however, Ryan’s “SVU” co-star Ice-T reigns supreme. The two faced off while they were waiting to film after Ryan asked the rapper if he was up for a game.
“I actually got to play Nintendo with Ice-T,” Ryan said when asked if he had a favorite member of Benson’s “SVU” squad. Ice-T has played Odafin “Fin” Tutuola on the series since 2000 and has become Cpt. Benson’s right-hand man as her sergeant and loyal friend.
“It was so cool!” he continued. “It’s probably the best day of my life.”
It was so cool! It’s probably the best day of my life.
Ryan Buggle on playing Nintendo with Ice-t
Ryan added he “got crushed.”
One member of the “Law & Order” family that viewers have eagerly been waiting to see Noah have a scene with is Elliot Stabler, who’s played by “SVU”-alum-turned-“Organized Crime” star Chris Meloni.
Many fans are hoping Stabler’s return means he and Benson will finally take their friendship “for now” to the next level, which would mean a new, strong male presence in Noah’s life. Stabler has already asked Benson twice to hang out with her and Noah. In last week’s episode, Benson told Stabler “let’s wait” after he asked to take her and Noah to lunch because her son ” gets attached very easily,” and Stabler’s undercover again.
Ryan recently commented on a photo of Hargitay and Meloni that the official “Law & Order” account shared: “Mom and ???”
“I know a lot of people want that to happen, but we’re just going to have to wait and see!” Ryan said.
Ryan has been on set with Meloni before, though, for the series premiere episode of “Organized Crime” in 2021.
“I remember sledding,” Ryan said about that day filming in the snow. “I got to sled like 100 times on the hill because we did the scene a lot.”
“And Chris is so funny!” he added while laughing. “He told me a bunch of jokes.”
Ryan said if Noah eventually hangs out with Elliot, he thinks it’d be fun if they played catch. In earlier seasons, baseball was one of Noah’s go-to activities until he discovered his love of dance, which was inspired by Ryan’s real-life passion.
“I actually asked the writers, personally, if Noah can become a dancer on the show,” Ryan said. “And they were like, ‘Yeah, sure!’ and that’s just how amazing everyone on ‘SVU’ is.”
He also said ballet is “definitely” his favorite style of dance to perform.
His all-time favorite Noah scene doesn’t involve dance, but rather ice cream, and is one from his “younger” days.
“Me and Mariska did this scene where we were eating ice cream, and then all of a sudden I put ice cream on her nose and then she put it on my face. It was pretty fun. I got to eat a bunch of ice cream that day.”
The best piece of advice he’s received so far — “to be true to yourself” — also comes from his TV mom.
“I think that I’m so lucky to do what I do, and I wouldn’t change anything,” Ryan said.
But will viewers see Noah again on “Law & Order” before the season ends?
“For sure!” Ryan said.