Stabler Just Tried To Kiss Benson On Law & Order: SVU

Calling all Bensler fans, this is not a drill: Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) attempted to kiss Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) on the January 26 episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

The almost kiss moment was a long time coming for those who encouraged Benson and Stabler to reunite. While the two have attempted to keep their friendship professional, the line between partner and «something more» has always been blurred. But with both parties now single and in town since Season 22, that line has become almost incomprehensible. Case in point: «Blood Out» from Season 24, Episode 12. The moment Stabler finally made his feelings known by kissing.

A bit of background: Throughout Season 24 of SVU, Benson took on the Bronx-based BX9 gang, while also dealing with her relationship with Stabler. Meanwhile, Stabler did his own thinking in Law and order: organized crime, where he confessed that he was in love with a mysterious woman. All signs pointed to Benson being that person, and while many thought Benson and Stabler might finally collide romantically, things turned out to be very complicated.

It all came to a head when Benson asked Stabler to pick up his son, Noah, after he got caught up in some BX9 business. There are very few people Benson would trust for this task, but Stabler is on that list, of course. Visiting Benson at his apartment, Stabler quickly noticed Benson’s injuries and realized how difficult his ordeal had been. Stabler and Benson hadn’t spoken in a while, but Stabler seemed hurt that Benson didn’t think of him for support with BX9. The shock of it all prompted Stabler to ask Benson why she hadn’t asked for help.

«Why didn’t you call me?» Stabler asked.

«Because I knew you would try to protect me,» Benson admitted avoiding Stabler’s eye contact.

«Is there a problem with this? I care about you,» Stabler explained, scanning Benson’s every move. «Liv, look at me.»

Benson and Stabler finally closed their eyes, and the chemistry between the two ignited. As Benson and Stabler grew closer, it became clear: they may have officially passed the point of no return. But just as Stabler leaned in for a kiss, Benson pulled away from the last moment.

«I can’t,» admitted Benson, clearly conflicted.

«Why not?» Stabler requested (with each SVU fan rooting for Bensler).

«Because what if it doesn’t work?» Benson revealed, echoing concerns she shared with Rollins during the midseason finale about their longtime friendship being ruined.

“Things are going to change,” Stabler explained. “For you, for Noah. And if they make practice?»

«So things are going to change again,» Benson said, and it was clear that Stabler’s unexpected vulnerability caught her off guard. After 24 years of will-they-won’t-they, Stabler has finally made a move. But Benson is never one to fumble the ball in his court. They have a few issues they need to resolve before she dives into a romance with her former partner and best friend.

«I’m not ready for this,» Benson said, holding Stabler’s face in her hands as she began to cry. She repeated the phrase, collapsing into Stabler’s arms. He held her gently as they processed the moment.

What will be the impact of this almost kiss on their future relationship? Will there be a time when Benson is ready for stabler? Only time will tell.

Detectives Benson and Stabler greet a child on the street

Find out what happens to Benson and Stabler by watching Law and Order: SVU on NBC Thursdays at 9/8c and the next day on Peacock.

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