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NBC Insider Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

What Chris Meloni Remembers About *That* Shirtless SVU Scene With Mariska Hargitay

Season 10's "Wildlife" should be in the Benson and Stabler hall of fame.

By Jessica White
Stabler Opens Up to His Therapist About Benson and His Past | NBC’s Law & Order: Organized Crime

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursday, October 3 at 9/8c on NBC.

While there have been dozens of insane moments between Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Meloni is reflecting on one of their wildest scenes ever. 

Ahead of the January 26 episode of Law & Order: SVU, Meloni stopped by TODAY to chat about its steamy promo that teases a potential kiss between Benson and Stabler. After decades of playing "will-they-won't-they," Bensler fans everywhere have been going crazy about what this scene might mean for their decades-long friendship. 

TODAY was happy to point out that the last time Benson and Stabler were seen in a romantic light was in Season 10's "Wildlife," when Stabler went undercover for an exotic animal smuggling ring. After Stabler and Benson are caught discussing the case by a group of mobsters, they both strip down, pretending Benson is a sex worker visiting the undercover Stabler. Benson put on a Southern accent to sell it and even called Stabler "Daddy." Simply put: It's arguably one of the best scenes between Benson and Stabler ever.

"I do remember that being out of the box," Meloni reminisced to TODAY about the scene. "There was something about that exposure—a literal exposure—that made it very dynamic."

"I just remember that feeling, and I remember she and I—we were extra, I don’t know, vibrant or vivacious or whatever, and that was our expression of, ‘Oh, my God, this is really pushing these characters towards an uncomfortable place.' I remember it clearly," Meloni added. "I remember the feeling."

Bensler fans remember, too. And with a potential kiss between the former partners on the horizon, the TODAY Hosts did their best to pry details from Meloni. After transforming the studio into an interrogation room, they asked Meloni if Stabler and Benson kiss.

"Sir, you were there. You were in the apartment. You had the motive and you had the means: your lips," the Hosts teased. "Did you or did you not kiss her?"

"I want my lawyer," Meloni responded.

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