Season 8 was a rough one for Olivia Benson fans; Benson was absent for most of the season because Mariska Hargitay was pregnant in real life. She was off for maternity leave, and so Benson engaged in a months-long undercover mission. She infiltrated a suspected eco-terrorist group, trying to prove if they had ties to a bigger, more dangerous group.
Benson eventually blew her cover when a chemist turns up murdered and mutilated. Turns out the guy was a pedophile, and Benson kept investigating even when the police warned her to stay away. The local sheriff made her for a cop, and they called in her FBI handler to take her off the case.
Meanwhile, Stabler got a temporary new partner; Dani Beck, from the Warrants Squad. She spent her time at SVU getting passionately involved with cases, often getting too close. She even momentarily got too close to Stabler; the two share a kiss in the episode “Underbelly.” But, nothing comes of it. Eventually, Beck leaves to go back to Warrants after a child she takes in tries to burn her house down.
Benson returns in the next “Law & Order: SVU” episode, “Choreographed.” Things were tough between Benson and Stabler, as there was still some animosity between them because Benson left suddenly and couldn’t tell anyone what she was doing. No one knew where she was for months, just that she was on assignment with the FBI. So, when she finally came back, things with Stabler were messy.
But, this episode proved that even though they argue, and disagree, and sometimes fight each other on things, nothing can keep Benson and Stabler away from each other. They’re the best when they’re a team.
‘Law & Order: SVU’: Benson and Stabler’s Most Relationship-Defining Moment
I believe the moment that affects them the most isn’t when Stabler says Benson and the SVU are all he has left; or when they reunite in season 8 after Benson’s long stint undercover. I recently saw the “Law & Order: SVU” episode where Kathy gives birth in the car accident, and it totally made me cry. I think it should be mentioned among Benson and Stabler’s relationship-defining moments.
First of all, let’s talk about how great Benson is in that entire sequence of events. She’s projecting an air of calm for Kathy, even though she’s clearly close to freaking out. You can tell her adrenalin is running so high through the entire scene, starting from the car accident itself and still going when they get to the hospital.
This whole scene is so important for Benson and Stabler, even though Stabler only shows up at the end. It’s that hug, where Stabler turns around suddenly and pulls her in and Benson just stands there and holds him with her eyes closed. It’s the two of them walking off together even though Kathy almost died. Emotions are high throughout the entire scene, and then it’s Benson and Stabler, back at it again. I think this is one of their best moments, and that’s a hill I’m willing to die on.