NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Wait, Was Stabler Flirting with Benson During That SVU Finale Stakeout?

The former partners had a scene while investigating a case together that got fans very excited. 

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

The Season 24 finale of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit took viewers on a twisted ride. Here's what happened: 

How to Watch

Watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Thursdays on NBC and next day on Peacock.

The SVU and OCCB are trying to take down the malignant revenge-for-hire website, Shadowërk, run by an illusive perp known as Hyakunin Giri. And time is not on the NYPD's side. Forced to sideline many arrests so Hyakunin doesn't catch wind of their investigation, Captain Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) have their bosses breathing down their necks to catch this criminal. 

Forced to expedite the typically-sluggish cyber case, Jet codes a way to hack the Shadowërk site.  Meanwhile, they've managed to bug Hyakunin's server room: a run-of-the-mill office in Dublin, Ohio. None of the employees seem to have any connections to Shadowërk (or any insidious cyber mastermind). With no leads, the SVU and OCCB take turns monitoring the cameras and searching for possible disruptions in the day-to-day. Between observing office fridge thieves and menial desk tasks, their surveillance doesn't give any insight into Shadowërk or its creator.

Olivia Benson on Law and Order SVU

Unfortunately, Hyakunin Giri senses the cops are onto them, so they shut down Shadowërk. Our crew can't tell whether Hyakunin did this to manipulate them or simply go in hiding, but the site's termination is bad news for the case. This may stop Shadowërk crimes temporarily, but the site can easily be launched elsewhere. 

After this troubling update, their best bet is something happens in the Ohio office that might indicate Hyakunin Giri is on the move. So Benson and Stabler take the night shift, keeping tabs on any movements. Rightfully, the former partners decide to order Chinese takeout to keep themselves fueled — and despite their difficult circumstances, they seem to be enjoying each other's company

During their stakeout, they have a sweet conversation that could be interpreted as Stabler flirting with Benson. 

"I wish I could bottle this," Stabler tells Benson. 

"Bottle what?" she asks.

"This moment," Stabler says meaningfully before adding, "Things just keep changing, though."

"And they change again," Benson quips. 

"And keep changing," Stabler sighs while befittingly changing the subject to Benson's revamped SVU. While chatting about the new squad, Stabler notices Benson has an unopened Christmas gift in her office. It's May, so this instantly raises his suspicions. Benson explains it's from Noah's extended family, the McCanns, but she hasn't opened it. 

Stabler on Law And Order OC

When Stabler asks her why she hasn't, she shrugs him away, saying the McCanns are "wholesome" and "like a TV family." That dynamic makes Benson feel insecure, as she's someone who observes evil misdeeds on a daily basis. 

Stabler asks Benson if he can open the present, but she protests, arguing that it's her gift. Stabler says that's fine and dandy, but he knows the real reason she hasn't opened the present. 

"OK, detective," Benson relents. "Tell me why."

"Whatever is inside this box," Stabler guesses. "You're afraid is too normal."

"Too normal?" Benson asks. "I didn't know there was such a thing."

"There is," Stabler insists. "And it scares you more than anything you'll ever face in your life."

"Well, thank you, Dr. Stabler," Benson says. At this point, Bensler fans may be thinking, "Are they still talking about the Christmas present? Or is this some metaphor for Benson and Stabler's recent romantic standstill?" Could the "normal" thing Stabler is referencing be their potential relationship? 

"You're welcome," Stabler says.

"I have normal-itus," Benson jokes.

"Liv, deflect all you want," Stabler volleys. "It's the truth."

“If it were me," he later reinforces. "I’d open [the present].”

"You're not me," Benson teases, effectively tabling that weighted conversation. 

Before Stabler can dive into Benson's mental state any further, they finally see something interesting in the Ohio office. An IT rep calls the office to tell them he'll be in shortly, despite it being the end of the day as all the employees were leaving. The SVU and OCCB gather and alert the Ohioan Feds, telling them to swarm the scene if the IT rep tries to remove the server, their only evidence. After the suspicious IT employee starts unplugging the server, the Feds swiftly arrest him and gather the entire office of employees for questioning. One of these people could be Hyakunin Giri.

Benson and Stabler head to Ohio to interview the suspects, finding a lineup of unhelpful and fearful individuals. Before they can get in the box, Stabler receives a call from a panicked Detective Jet (Ainsley Seiger), who informs them the Shadowërk site is back up. Even worse, there's a new hit listed that they should see. 

Hyakunin Giri has listed a hit for Benson and Stabler, with an offer of $50,000 each to anyone who murders them

How will Benson and Stabler get themselves out of this mess? The action continues during the Law & Order: OC Season 3 finale, when the squads can hopefully track Hyakunin Giri and shut down Shadowërk for good.