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Stabler came face to face with the gang leader who greenlit an attack on Benson. He did not hold back

The “Law & Order” crossover event between “SVU” and “Organized Crime” has begun — and we don’t want it to ever end.
/ Source: TODAY

Elliot Stabler may not have been there until the end the last time Olivia Benson crossed paths with Oscar Papa, but, boy, was he ever present this time around.

The end of the May 11 episode of “Law & Order: SVU,” “Bad Things,” kicked off the beginning of a multi-episode crossover between “SVU” and “Law & Order: Organized Crime.” Benson and Stabler meet up on the steps of the New York Public Library and acknowledge they haven’t seen each other since they nearly kissed in Benson’s kitchen over three months ago.

What brings Benson and Stabler together this time, of course, is a case. Benson realizes her team and Stabler’s team have been working the same case “from opposite ends.” The Special Victims Unit has been investigating a series of assaults with the same M.O. but different DNA at each of the crime scenes.

Law & Order: Organized Crime - Season 3
We’re really glad they’re back — together again.Will Hart / NBC

Stabler asks Benson how she and her son, Noah, are doing, before Benson references their previous intimate moment in her kitchen, saying, “You know, the last time we saw each other that was a — that was a bad time for me.”

Stabler responds, “Worst timing from me.”

“I know that you were just trying to make me feel safe,” Benson says. “I think we both felt that.”

“Just not the right moment,” Stabler replies.

Then the two get down to business and discuss one of the suspects, Junior Suarez, who’s a member of the BX9 gang that Stabler recently interviewed in prison. Stabler tells Benson that as part of this crime ring, the inmates go out and do a hit when they’re out on furlough. Benson and Stabler realize this perp could be connected to each of their team’s cases they’ve been investigating. Benson then mentions the other rapes her team is looking into with the same pattern — suspects taking selfies during the assaults.

Law & Order: Organized Crime - Season 3
Olivia Benson using her words to express her feelings (real).Will Hart / NBC

“That’s why I called you,” Benson says. “I think you and I are working the same case from opposite ends.”

“OK, partner,” Stabler responds with a grin, referencing their previous 12-year partnership with the SVU.

The episode ends, and the action immediately continues on “Organized Crime’s” “Shadowërk” with Benson and Stabler working the case together in the OC squad room.

It doesn’t take long for the conversation to turn personal when Benson notices Stabler has slid a ring back on his fourth finger. Let’s not forget in last week’s episode, Stabler hallucinated his dead wife, Kathy, after a case filled with many reminders for him that he is a widower. Stabler mentions to Benson his mother, who’s portrayed by Ellen Burstyn, unofficially assisted with investigating the murder they’re discussing and her theory about the deceased’s prickly attitude stemming from the pain of recently losing her husband.

“You’re wearing your wedding ring again,” Benson says.

Stabler responds, saying he’s not their latest victim, who was the aforementioned widow murdered on Staten Island in last week’s episode.

“I found it in a drawer, and don’t do that,” he continues, clocking her facial expression. “You’re doing that with the eyes, with the head cock, with the dime-sized pupils.”

“It’s called empathy,” Benson responds.

Stabler then tells Benson how he recently “saw” Kathy in the squad room “waiting to be interrogated.”

“Well, maybe she wanted to interrogate you,” Benson says, to which Stabler responds he’s not losing his mind.

“Well, El, you know, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned after all these years, it’s that if we don’t deal with our trauma, the world will,” Benson explains.

“I’m not a victim,” Stabler replies.

“But you are a survivor,” Benson tells him. “And sometimes that’s just as hard.”

Benson and Stabler then agree to head up to the prison where their suspect is being held to find out who’s paying these men to go out and carry out these hits.

Law & Order: Organized Crime - Season 3
The vibes of this scene are taking us back to the early days of Benson and Stabler's partnership.Will Hart / NBC

The duo visit Suarez and try to get him to talk before going to the prison library. They see Oscar Papa, who’s the leader of BX9 and previously greenlit a hit on Benson and her son. At the time, Benson fought off her attackers and walked away with a black eye, but she sent her son away to stay at his half brother’s house in Woodstock, New York, until it was safe to return. She asked Stabler, whom she previously said she trusts more than anyone to safely pick up her son, to bring Noah home.

Stabler approaches Papa, waving his finger, and says, “Are you why I had to go up to Woodstock and get Noah? That who you are?”

Law & Order: Organized Crime - Season 3
Wreck our plans, that’s our man defending his partner.Will Hart / NBC

Papa smiles while Stabler is in his face and says, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”Stabler grabs Papa and slams him up against a bookshelf. Benson intervenes and tells Stabler to stop. She inserts herself between him and Papa.

“Captain, I’m glad you’ve got somebody who cares for you,” Papa says. “You deserve that.”

“I wish you hadn’t done that,” Benson tells Stabler as they walk away.

“If someone tried to kill me –“ Stabler begins.

“I’d kill ‘em,” Benson says.

“Well then, compared to you I showed remarkable restraint,” Stabler replies.

Benson tells Stabler that Papa previously gave her his word that Noah is safe.

“Protect the case — not me,” Benson says.

Stabler laughs off Papa giving Benson his word and says, “OK, look, these guys are not going to tell us who hired them.”

The crossover between the teams continues into next week’s finales, with help from fan-favorite character Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish).

“Law & Order: SVU” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, followed by “Law & Order: Organized Crime” at 10 p.m.