Entertainment TV 'Law & Order: SVU' Teased Yet Another Potential Benson/Stabler Kiss — Did Fans Get Their Wish? Promos for another charged moment between Mariska Hargitay's Benson and Christopher Meloni's Stabler dangled the prospect that fans' years-long hopes might finally come true By Dory Jackson Dory Jackson Instagram Twitter Website Dory Jackson is an Associate Editor for PEOPLE's digital TV team. While at the brand, she's had the opportunity to interview a long list of celebrities, from Kate Hudson to Pierce Brosnan to Billy Porter. She also recaps popular TV shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules.The New York-based Maryland native graduated from Randolph-Macon College in May 2016 with a focus in Communication Studies and Journalism. She came to PEOPLE in March 2021 after working at a number of major news companies, including Newsweek and Us Weekly. She also previously co-hosted a podcast called "Idol Nation." People Editorial Guidelines Published on January 27, 2023 11:59 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: NBC The moment Law & Order: Special Victims Unit fans have been waiting for almost happened. Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska's Hargitay) and Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) shared an emotional moment at the end of Thursday's episode that nearly led to the pair sharing a kiss. The two detectives caught up at Benson's apartment after Stabler helped pick up her son, Noah (Ryan Buggle), who had been staying with his half-brother's family outside since her attack. Stabler questioned why she didn't call him with the assault happened, and Benson explained that she knew he'd "try to protect" her. "Is there something wrong with that?" Stabler asked as Benson remained silent. Then he added, "I care for you." Christopher Meloni Plays Coy After Upcoming Lip-Lock with Former Costar Mariska Hargitay Is Teased on SVU His words loaded with years of romantic tension, which was clearly overwhelming for his former partner. Stabler moved closer, saying, "Liv, look at me." After the pair touched foreheads, Stabler appeared to lean in to kiss her — but Benson pulled away. "Elliot I want to — I want to," she said. "But I can't." Stabler asked, "Why not?" Zach Dilgard/NBC "Because what if it doesn't work out?" Benson asked in response as Stabler said, "And what if things work out?" Benson was unfortunately still hesitant and eventually fully backed away. "Elliot, I'm not ready for this," she said, before repeating several times: "I'm not ready for this." Christopher Meloni Calls Longtime Pal Mariska Hargitay by Pet Name in Kooky Birthday Tribute Fans watched as Benson and Stabler worked alongside each other in Manhattan's Special Victims Unit for 12 seasons. But Meloni exited the long-running series, now in its 24th season, in 2011 before returning in 2021 for season 22. Benson and Stabler have shared smoldering, fraught moments many time since Meloni launched the Stabler-centric spin-off Law & Order: Organized Crime in 2021. But a recent promo for the series had fans more hopeful than ever for a long-awaited kiss between the two colleagues. Evans Vestal Ward/NBC/Getty Hargitay recently revealed how Benson actually feels about Stabler. "The energy's there. Olivia's been in love with him for many a year," Hargitay said on The Drew Barrymore Show in January 2022. "And I think that we are slowly finding our way back to it, but I want to give him the amount of time he needs to grieve Kathy Stabler." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET, followed by Law & Order: Organized Crime at 10 p.m. ET, on NBC.