Sure, it’s possible that Law & Order: SVU‘s Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler won’t actually lock lips in the show’s next episode. But based on the events of a new SVU promo, it certainly looks like their long-awaited first kiss is in store.
In the teaser trailer for Episode 12 of the procedural’s current 24th season (airing Thursday, Jan. 26 at 9/8c on NBC), Benson attempts to close the book on the recent gang attack that targeted her and her son, Noah. She appears to enlist Stabler’s help — “Why did you call me?” Elliot asks Liv in the promo above — and their extended hug might just turn into something more, judging by the very, very small gap between their faces in the teaser’s final seconds. And is that Liv reaching up to make the big move?
Many SVU fans have championed a Benson/Stabler romance for years, and the Law & Order franchise has seemingly considered bringing it to fruition since Christopher Meloni’s character returned for his own Organized Crime spinoff in 2021. Case in point: The Nov. 17 episode of Organized Crime touched on Stabler’s apparently-quite-major feelings for an unnamed woman, who we can only assume is Benson. Plus, in the offshoot’s first season, Elliot blurted out that he loved Liv, to her face — though he was in an emotionally messed-up place at the time, after his wife’s murder, and the sentiment was pushed aside.
Watch the SVU promo above to see Benson and Stabler’s almost-kiss for yourself, then weigh in below!