But alas, it looks like fans of the NBC crime drama will have to wait a little bit longer, as the will-they-won't-they couple didn't actually lock lips after coming very close to doing so on the Jan. 26 episode of SVU.
After her son was the target of a gang attack that left her beaten and bruised, Benson tells Dominick "Sonny" Carisi Jr. (Peter Scanavino) in the episode, "There's nobody I trust more to bring my son home in one piece than Stabler."
Back at Benson's apartment, Stabler questions why she didn't call him for help after the gang attack, to which she tells her former partner, "Because I knew that you would try to protect me."
Stabler doesn't see why that's a problem for Benson, as he tells her, "I care for you."
Getting close enough that their foreheads are touching, Stabler leans in for a kiss, only for Benson to pull away. "I want to, but I can't," she tells him. And after he asks, "Why not?' she says, "Because what if it doesn't work out?"
Choosing to be optimistic, Stabler tells her, "And what if things work out?" But between taking down a gang and worrying about her son's safety, Benson isn't in the place to begin a romantic relationship—especially with her close friend.
The episode ends with her turning Stabler down, stating, "Elliot, I'm not ready for this."
"I think there's a world," the 61-year-old stated. "I used to not, but I think we're all trying to still figure out what the exact steps are and what that endgame is."
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)