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After Weeks of Voicemails, Stabler & Benson Finally Spoke on the SVU Finale

Of course, that symbolic compass necklace was a central conversation point. 

By Jessica White

As Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 25 came to a close, all eyes were on Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) to see if she'd reunite with her longtime friend and former SVU partner, Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), now on Law & Order: Organized Crime. 

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Whether or not the pair will get together remains the series' longest-running mystery. Case in point: Stabler's attempt at kissing Benson in Season 24, him gifting her a customized compass necklace designed to "lead her to happiness" in OC's Season 3 finale, and countless nods to their chemistry. Benson wore the necklace in every episode of Season 25, but alas, there were no Stabler sightings. 

RELATED: Mariska Hargitay Returned to SVU's Set with a Unforgettable Bensler Easter Egg

But in the Season 25 finale ("Duty to Hope"), we got a phone call between Benson and Stabler after a heartfelt moment with the mother of a victim. Here's what happened:

Benson let a special friend borrow Stabler's compass necklace

Captain Olivia Benson on Law And Order Svu Episode 2513

Throughout Season 25 of SVU and Season 4 of Law & Order: OC, Benson and Stabler played frustrating game of phone tag. Both had been busy with their squad's respective investigations, but that didn't stop the former partners from thinking of each other in their time apart. Stabler left Benson a voicemail in the Season 4 premiere, and Benson returned the favor by leaving him a message later in OC. Despite these connection attempts, Benson and Stabler remained out of touch. 

RELATED: Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler's Full Relationship History

Meanwhile, Benson spent a significant chunk of the season on the missing person's case of 15-year-old Maddie Flynn (Allison Elaine), whom she witnessed get kidnapped. Not only did Benson get Maddie home and imprison her trafficker, she also was a tremendous support to the entire Flynn family. She ultimately became dear friends with Maddie's parents, Eileen and Peter. 

After closing the last case of the season and telling Fin Tutuola (Ice T) that she had somewhere to be, some viewers might have thought she was on her way to finally catch up with Stabler. But that wasn't the plan — Benson had a birthday to attend. Joining the Flynns for Maddie's 16th birthday, the family had nothing but praise for all Benson had done. Regardless, Maddie still has a long road to recovery, and the Flynn family still has trauma to navigate, leading Maddie's mother to tease that maybe she needed a compass like Benson has. 

RELATED: Mariska Hargitay Says Fans Need to Remember Something Important About Bensler’s Relationship

"Maybe you do," Benson agreed, unlatching the necklace's clasp. "You know what, how about you borrow this?"

After some initial hesitance, Benson insisted, encouraging Eileen to turn so she could place it around her neck.

"This has gotten me through some tough times," Benson explained. "You can return it whenever you want. It's not like we're going to lose touch."

"You know my job has a lot of responsibilities," Benson said. "But, the one thing that I've learned to value the most is the duty to hope."

Benson and Stabler's heartwarming phone call

Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler flirt in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 24 Episode 22.

Following Maddie's birthday, Benson had a call to make to Stabler. 

"Elliot, how are things?" Benson began.

"Things are things," Stabler replied. 

"I wanted to talk to you about something," Benson said. "The necklace, the compass that you gave me last year."

"Don't tell me you lost it," Stabler teased. "You're the only person I know who could lose a compass."

"No, as a matter of fact, I haven't taken it off since you gave it to me," Benson said, her tone turning soft. "And I wanted to let you know that it has been incredibly meaningful to me. And it has guided me in terms of my healing."

RELATED: What Mariska Hargitay Wants for Benson and Stabler

"I'm glad," Stabler said. 

"Yeah," Benson continued. "And, uh, I just wanted to let you know, that I lent it to someone. A victim's mother."

"That missing girl case?" Stabler asked. 

"Yeah, that poor woman has been through hell," she said. 

"Sounds like she needed it a lot more than you do," Stabler explained, earning a big smile from Benson.

"I knew you'd understand," Benson said, smiling.

Find out what happens with Benson and Stabler next by staying tuned for Season 26 of Law & Order: SVU and Season 5 of Law & Order: Organized Crime.