Why did Benson and Stabler stop being partners?

Benson and Stabler are one of television’s most iconic duos, without a doubt, and fans can now finally see them together again after Stabler left in season twelve.

Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, and Elliot Stabler, played by Christopher Meloni, were partners for 12 seasons on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU). They tackled the most shocking New York City crimes together and formed an incredibly close bond.

Law and Order: SVU is a spin-off show of Law and Order. The first episode of Law and Order: SVU aired in 1999, with Benson and Stabler already investigating murder mysteries as partners.

In episode 19 of season seven, Benson and Stabler took on a case together. Stabler was held at gunpoint and told Benson to take the shooter out, even if it resulted in his death. A special weapons and tactics (SWAT) member killed the perpetrator before Benson could pull the trigger. Later on, Stabler told Benson that he believed she would have pulled the trigger, evoking a reflective conversation between the two.

Stabler left SVU after a tragedy hit the squad room in the finale of season 12. Benson was notified in the premiere of season 13 when Cragen called her into his office.

After 10 years, Stabler will be returning to New York City. Benson and Stabler will reunite under some extreme circumstances. Stabler suffered devastating personal losses, which prompted his return to the NYPD to take on organised crime. Stabler will subsequently be getting his own spin-off, Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Law & Order: Organized Crime will air after Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on Thursdays.