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Stabler Hugging Benson for the First Time on SVU Is So Profound and Heartfelt

It happened in Season 9, Episode 9 after Benson saved Stabler's wife, Kathy. 

By Christopher Rosa

Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) have had many moments throughout both Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Organized Crime that show just how much they love each other. But one of the most powerful examples of this happened in Season 9, Episode 9 ("Paternity"), when Stabler hugged Benson for the first time. 

How to Watch

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

Here's what happened that led to this moment. At the time on the series, Stabler and his wife, Kathy (Isabel Gillies), were separated. However, they got together one night, which resulted in Kathy getting pregnant and the two reconciling. In Season 9, Episode 9, a very pregnant Kathy needed to go to the doctor, but Stabler was out of town and unable to drive her, so Benson volunteered. On the way to the appointment, the two women got into an intense car crash that resulted in multiple injuries and Kathy going into labor early. Really scary stuff.   

RELATED: The Complete Timeline of Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler's Relationship

But Benson was made for situations like these. She kept Kathy calm the entire time and helped deliver the child successfully while they were still in the car.

Stabler hugs Benson for the first time on Law & Order: SVU

Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler on Law And Order: SVU Episode 2216

Later at the hospital, Kathy and her newborn baby boy are resting, happy and healthy. Stabler, of course, rushed to the room to make sure they were OK.

RELATED: Stabler’s Voicemail to Benson in the Organized Crime Premiere Will Hurt Your Heart

"How's the baby?" Benson asked Stabler, to which he replied with a relieved smile, "Great." 

He started walking away, but before fully leaving, he grabbed Benson and hugged her...for the first time. The gesture clearly caught Benson by surprise — Stabler is not one to show his emotions — and you can feel the love in their exchange. 

"Pick a name?" Benson asked.  

"Kathy wants to name him after me," Stabler said, to which Benson cheekily remarked, "Just what the world needs: another Elliot Stabler." 

Watch this moment for yourself in the video directly above. Check out Season 9, Episode 9 of SVU  — and all other episodes of the show — right now on Peacock.