Law & Order: SVU has seen a lot of people come and go over the years.
Law & Order: SVU Season 19 featured a number of blasts from the past. Brian Cassidy and Alex Cabot paid visits, and there was a funeral for Ben Stone, the original DA on the original Law & Order.
One fan favorite was missing, though. Elliot Stabler has not made an appearance since actor Chris Meloni chose to leave the show at the end of Season 12, and many fans miss him.
In honor of Stabler and of SVU's recently wrapping up its 19th year on the air, here are 19 memories of Elliot Stabler at his best (and sometimes at his worst).
Drop your favorite in the comments, and don't forget you can always watch Law & Order: SVU online or more of your favorite characters and stories
Elliot Learns Kathleen is Bipolar
After a drunk Kathleen broke into a neighbor's house to take a shower and spiraled more and more out of control, a doctor diagnosed her with bipolar disorder. This was one of the most emotional episodes of SVU in the history of the series, as Stabler was forced to confront his relationship with his estranged mother, who was also bipolar, and the pain she had caused him throughout his childhood, while Kathleen refused treatment, lashed out angrily at him, and ended up in jail.
Stabler Burns Kathleen's Driver's License
Kathleen's out of control behavior began with her getting a DUI. At first, Stabler used his position as a respected officer to try to get her out of trouble, but eventually he realized he was enabling her and that her behavior was creating a danger for herself and others on the road. In a powerful moment, he burned her driver's license to stop her from being able to drive.
Stabler Protects Benson from a Perp
Olivia Benson has a dangerous job. She's been kidnapped, stalked, and threatened with sexual assault several times. The first time a perp stalked her was during the Stabler years, when Benson was investigating an attack on an assistant district attorney. Stabler went out of his way to drive to her apartment and check on her, using the excuse that he happened to be in the neighborhood.
Stabler Explains Why He Does His Job
In an early episode, Stabler was testifying in court and was asked why he does what he does. He replied that sex was a beautiful thing and he hated people who turned it into something ugly.
Stabler's Twins Have a Birthday
Stabler spent much of one memorable episode trying to get a gift for his twins' birthday, only to get so caught up in a case he couldn't get home on time. Kathy brought the kids to the station. Unfortunately, Stabler didn't get much time either with his wife or with his kids before a new lead came in, but it was a sweet moment anyway.
Most of the problematic behavior stories belonged to Kathleen, but early on Stabler's eldest daughter Maureen seemed headed for anorexia. Stabler did everything he could to try to get her to eat healthily; he even talked to Elizabeth Olivet about her behavior. Eventually he had to accept that he couldn't control her behavior.