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All the Times Law & Order: SVU's Benson and Stabler Were the Platonic Best

Allie Gemmill is an avid writer, cinephile, Ravenclaw, and pizza enthusiast. She regularly writes on film and television with a special focus on women’s involvement & influence in Hollywood. Additionally, she has bylines at Bustle, Keyfr...

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship

They are one of the most iconic couples in the Law & Order universe, and they've never dated each other. They've been partners, but not in the romantic sense. They've unconditionally loved one another, yet they've never been in love with one another. They are detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler — the best damn people to ever exist on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

More: 21 Epic Law & Order: SVU Behind-the-Scenes Pictures of the Cast

Benson and Stabler are a classic platonic pair, and yet they were so revolutionary together. In the world of crime procedurals (of which SVU remains king, in my humble opinion), Benson and Stabler's personal and professional relationship was nuanced, layered and so wholly unlike representations of other detective partnerships. It wasn't defined by gender stereotypes, and it wasn't burdened with sexual tension.

Instead, Benson and Stabler just... worked. Simple as that. So, when I came across a reunion photo of actor Mariska Hargitay (who still plays Benson on SVU) posted with actor Christopher Meloni (who played Stabler), I nearly died. These two remain good friends in real life. How about that? It got me a little sentimental, seeing the two of them reuniting. And it got me to thinking about all the times that Benson and Stabler were actually so 'ship-worthy on SVU.

And then that happened... Just when I thought Valentine's Day was over.

A post shared by Mariska Hargitay (@therealmariskahargitay) on

1. When Benson & Stabler were cool getting half-naked with each other

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

Sometimes Benson and Stabler have to go undercover or fake unusually romantic (for them) relationship dynamics in order to catch the perp. It's always a treat to watch them feign intimacy, if only because that chemistry is so palpable, it makes you go, "What if?"

2. When Stabler wanted Benson to be his (platonic) Valentine

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

One moment that always stuck out in my head was when Stabler made sure that Benson wasn't forgotten on Valentine's Day. The moment proved that these partners really cared about one another and that they didn't need to contemplate romance in order to allow their affection for each other to flourish.

3. When they grilled suspects together

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

Because literally any time they went out to get the villain, they looked like real-life superheroes.

4. When they were able to be weird and goofy with each other

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

A good partnership, platonic or romantic, allows room for the goofy, weird bits to come into play. Benson and Stabler had plenty of these moments during their time together and I. Was. Here. For. It.

5. Every time Benson called out Stabler for being a little internally misogynistic

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

At the end of the day, Stabler is a good Catholic boy. There were times when his approach to a case got clouded by some old-school thinking. Benson always called him out on his nonsense and schooled him.

More: Christopher Meloni Leaving Law & Order: SVU

6. When Benson seemed unimpressed that women would hit on Stabler

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

Getting hit on is bound to happen when you look like Stabler does — especially when there's a perp trying to weasel their way out of a conviction. Benson always seemed unimpressed that Stabler would get hit on, and Stabler always seemed unfazed. This sort of, "Oh, women actually find you attractive?" bit made my heart grow three sizes for Benson and Stabler's relationship.

7. When Stabler's marriage remained intact and never threatened by Benson

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

How damn refreshing was it that Stabler's wife was never jealous or worried that Stabler spent more time with Benson than he did with her? Come on, guys, that's the sign of a 'ship-worthy platonic relationship.

8. When they supported each other's career and life goals

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

Stabler couldn't stay a detective forever, and neither could Benson. Benson supported Stabler's move to Washington D.C., and that's a sign of a good relationship. Support is the key, folks.

9. When they actually fought over the right thing to do

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

All couples fight; even the platonic ones. Benson and Stabler didn't always get along. Their opposing worldviews often led to some major breakthroughs in cases and added a new dynamic to their relationship.

More: 35 Photos of Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU Through the Years

10. People were jealous of their bond and actually didn't get how partnerships work

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

The closeness and dependency Benson and Stabler shared were often commented on by other characters on SVU. But, guys, don't listen to them. They're just jealous.

11. When Benson pulled in Stabler to consult on cases even after he left

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Giphy

Even after Stabler had left New York City, Benson needed him. When he'd return for an episode to help consult on a case, it was like the old team was back together again. Ah, the good old days.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

In the criminal justice system, SVU's Benson & Stabler get the job done — this is the story of their friendship
Image: Mariska Hargitay/Instagram
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