Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Ending Explained: What Does The Final Scene Mean for Benson and Stabler?


Law & Order: SVU’s final scene left Bensler fans hanging, but I don’t think their conversation put the final nail in the coffin for this pairing.

Benson and Stabler had barely crossed paths all season despite the promising developments at the end of Law & Order: SVU Season 24 Episode 22.

However, the season ended with the two having a phone conversation about Benson lending Eileen Flynn the compass necklace.

Stabler seemed to approve of Benson’s decision, saying the woman needed the necklace more than Benson did, and I think that’s good news for Bensler shippers.

Here’s a rundown of what happened during Law & Order: SVU Season 25 Episode 13 and its meaning. 

The Compass Necklace’s Meaning Explained

Stabler gave Benson the necklace at the end of Season 24 after a difficult case.

He wanted her to have it to guide her way while he departed for another undercover assignment.

The necklace seemed like an affirmation of their relationship, which is why it was odd that Stabler and Benson didn’t interact at all during Season 25.

The showrunners keep playing the will-they-wont-they card, and having Benson give away Stabler’s necklace after a whole season of non-interaction is beyond annoying.

Law & Order: SVU’s Necklace Scene Came After A Difficult Case Ended

The case Benson and the rest of the team worked on before this final scene was different than usual.

A suspect had been arrested for a series of brutal rapes early in the hour, but he was innocent, and the team had to prove it so that the new Trial Chief would let the man go.

Every minute the suspect remained in jail was another minute where nobody was getting justice, and the actual rapist was still on the loose.

To make matters worse, the suspect’s pre-teen son shot Fin after confronting him with a gun in a desperate attempt to secure his father’s release, and Fin was lying about what happened to him to keep the kid out of jail.

Related: Olivia Benson’s Most Memorable Moments From 25 Years of SVU

The investigation ended with a stand-off with a hostage-taking, out-of-control perp, and the cops had to fatally shoot him to resolve the situation.

Benson wasn’t at her best emotionally during those scenes, and I agree with those Bensler fans who would have found it far more satisfying for her to turn to Stabler for comfort than to run off to celebrate Maddie Flynn’s birthday.

That’s the real problem with this set-up: after weeks of radio silence on the Bensler front, Benson lent his gift to a near stranger who doesn’t need to continue to be part of her life.

I understand how that could feel like a slap in the face to Bensler fans — I also thought that was ridiculous.

Benson always goes the extra mile for victims, but the Maddie Flynn story is overplayed, and it’s time to move on.

Why Did Benson Lend the Necklace to Eileen Flynn?

Benson told her detectives she had someplace she had to be and ran off to Maddie Flynn’s 16th birthday party.

During the party, Maddie’s mother, Eileen, confided in Benson that she didn’t know how to relate to her traumatized daughter.

Mrs. Flynn joked that she needed a compass necklace like Benson had, and Benson responded by offering to lend it to her, saying that she believed in the “duty to hope.”

This has got me through some tough times. You can return it whenever you want. It’s not like we’re going to lose touch.


Clearly, she was lending Mrs. Flynn the necklace, not regifting it, which hopefully takes some of the sting out of the scene for Bensler fans.

However, Benson’s comment that they wouldn’t lose touch suggests that the Flynn family will continue to appear during Season 26, which few fans want.

Related: Law & Order: SVU Season 26: Everything We Know So Far

I’d be okay with Mrs. Flynn returning the necklace, but after that, why do we need any more of her?

That should conclude that storyline, with Mrs. Flynn feeling better and Benson’s support of the Flynn family ending.

Stabler and Benson’s Phone Call Could Be Better News Than it Seems

After leaving the Flynn family, Benson made the now infamous call to Stabler, in which she told him about what she did with the necklace, and he understood the reason.

This seemed silly, especially because it was the only interaction they had all season long (not counting the phone tag they kept playing.)

However, I think Stabler’s approval of Benson’s decision and her comment that she knew he’d understand have a more positive meaning than it may seem.

Yes, Benson is no longer wearing Stabler’s necklace, but his acceptance of this decision demonstrates that he’s her soulmate. 

This is the opposite of a split for the sake of drama. Benson and Stabler are so close that she doesn’t need to wear the necklace he gave her to prove it — and he completely gets her, weird decisions and all.

If the show wanted to permanently end Bensler, it didn’t have to bother with the on-screen phone call. Instead, it could have had Benson mention to someone else that she told Stabler about it.

Instead, the two talking for the first time all season is a good sign that there will be more Bensler to come during Season 26.

What Else Happened At The End of Law & Order: SVU Season 25?

That silly ending overshadowed the case, so few remember what the episode was about.

Related: Does Anyone Else Feel Ripped Off By This Ultra-Short TV Season?

However, there was also a happy ending for Hedges, the man falsely accused of rape, who finally got out of jail after the actual rapist was killed during a stand-off.

Fin came to the prison and asked Hedges to talk with Toby, Hedges’ pre-teen son who had shot him.

He told Toby he was not pressing charges this time but that if he ever caught him anywhere near a gun, that was a different story.

Hopefully, this family won’t do a Flynn family and insert themselves permanently into the show, but at least that ended that storyline for now.

Meanwhile, the actual rapist was dead, so all those rape cases have been closed, and there were no scenes to indicate how the victims felt about that.

Over to you, SVU fanatics. Now that we’ve discussed this ending, what do you think it means for Law & Order: SVU Season 26? Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.

Law & Order: SVU Season 26 will air on NBC on Thursdays at 9/8c and stream on Peacock.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

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