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NBC Insider Law & Order: Organized Crime

Stabler Gave Benson an Emotional Gift (and Big News) During the OC Season 3 Finale

Stabler is a man of fine taste and thoughtful metaphors, as proven by his present for Benson in the Season 3 finale of Law & Order: Organized Crime.

By Jessica White
Benson and Stabler Reunite | Law & Order: SVU | NBC

The two-week Law & Order: Organized Crime and Special Victims Unit crossover event came to a nail-biting end during the OC Season 3 finale. Here's what happened. 

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order: Organized Crime Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC and next day on Peacock.

The SVU and OCCB were tasked with taking down the horrendous revenge-for-hire website, Shadowërk. And if that wasn't dreadful enough, Shadowerk's leader placed a $50,000 hit on Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), further complicating their investigation and efforts to take down the site. 

The OCCB and SVU combined their brains to get their guy, a sociopath from Ohio named Kyle who wished to see the world burn. However, the arrest didn't happen without the OCCB suffering a few losses of their own. Detective Jamie Whelan (Brent Antonello) was mortally wounded during the nail-biting pursuit; he sacrificed his own medical care to guarantee the wounded Kyle would get the treatment he needed to survive and take down Shadowërk. 

Whelan dies in the hospital shortly after the arrest, and it's a devastating loss for the entire OCCB. But ultimately, Shadowërk would have never been stopped without Whelan's heart-wrenching sacrifice. On the day of Whelan's funeral, Stabler stops by Benson's office to give her an update. 

Stabler on Law And Order Organized Crime

As fans know, Benson and Stabler have gone through a lot, with this latest case adding to their already-robust shared history. Benson tells Stabler she's sorry for his loss, and Stabler tells her it's reminded him how precious life is. (This is a concept he's been coming to terms with throughout Season 3 of Law & Order: OC.) Stabler then places a gift on Benson's desk, much to her confusion. 

"What is this?" Benson probes.

"A reminder," Stabler explains. "I wanted to give it to you before I left."

Stabler then reveals he is going to be out of town on a new case, so he won't see Benson for a while.

"Well, thank you for telling me this time," Benson humorously quips, referencing Stabler's sudden departure from the SVU many years ago. Benson ponders the gift, but just as she goes to open it, Stabler stops her. 

"Not so fast, I wanna know what's in that box first," Stabler says while pointing to the months-old Christmas gift Benson has yet to open from Noah's extended family, the McCanns. 

Benson claims she doesn't know why she hasn't opened the gift yet, but Stabler theorizes it's because she is afraid of anything that might be considered "too normal," and the Christmas gift represents that to her. Benson dodged Stabler's psychoanalysis, but he wasn't about to let the case of the unopened Christmas gift go unsolved. 

Olivia Benson on Law and Order SVU

"You do, do you?" Benson asks. "OK. I'll make you deal. You open it, you keep it."

Stabler accepts this term and eagerly opens the mysterious present to unveil an ordinary Christmas tree ornament showcasing the over-commercialized "Live Laugh Love" slogan. Benson and Stabler smirk at the anti-climactic reveal, and Benson jokes about Stabler likely regretting his decision to take the underwhelming gift. 

"No, you can always fix things," Stabler says while breaking off the last "e" in "live" so that the ornament now reads "Liv, Laugh, Love" (a reference to Stabler's longtime nickname for Benson). Benson is left speechless by Stabler's thoughtful sentiment. 

"Now, I'll treasure it," Stabler promises before telling Benson to open her gift.

Benson opens the box to find a beautiful necklace with a diamond-accented compass pendant. It's a gorgeous present from someone Benson has held close to her heart for decades, now literally. 

"Elliot, this is beautiful," Benson gasps while thanking him. The compass strikes a chord with the SVU captain, who joyfully asks Stabler, "Is this supposed to lead me somewhere... or to something?"

Stabler and Benson in the Law And Order Premiere

Stabler beams at her and says, "Lead you to happiness, Liv."

"I sure as hell am gonna try," Benson tells him. 

"Me too," Stabler says before playfully adding, "Partner."

Despite the turmoil the OCCB and SVU went through to dismantle Shadowërk, Season 3 of OC ended with Stabler having a heartwarming moment with the friend he cherishes most in this world. Benson and Stabler's relationship remains complicated, with both still navigating their inner issues on the sidelines, but it's nice to see the former partners in good graces and back in action. We can't wait to see where Benson's compass leads when Stabler returns in Organized Crime Season 4 in 2024!