19 Favorite Elliot Stabler Memories from Law & Order: SVU

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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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Maureen's Anorexia

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.

7. Stabler Wants to Kill Pedophiles

At the end of Season 1, Stabler admitted to a department shrink that he fantasizes about killing pedophiles. He was suspended because of his comments and eventually was reinstated, but his suspicion of psychiatrists grew as a result of this experience.

8. Stabler Talks About His Abusive Father in Therapy

Stabler's bad temper was a core part of his character from Day 1. He often took out his anger on inanimate objects and sometimes on perps. After a particularly violent incident, he finally put aside his distrust of psychiatrists enough to seek help for his anger problem, and in a powerful scene revealed to his therapist that he'd grown up with a physically and emotionally abusive father.

9. Stabler Tells Benson a Hard Truth, Then Protects Her

When Benson was taking care of foster son Calvin, she was reluctant to risk losing him, even if it meant a case went unsolved. Stabler confronted her about her foot dragging behavior, but a few minutes later when Cragen asked him if Benson was off her game, he reassured the captain he had absolute faith in her. This scene was one of many testimonies to the strength of Benson and Stabler's friendship.

10. Benson Encourages Stabler Not to Throw Away His Marriage

When Stabler and his wife Kathy separated, he confided in Benson that he didn't know how to talk to his wife anymore because he didn't want to share the horrors he saw on the job when he was at home. While many shows would have used this opportunity to tell a run-of-the-mill cheating story, SVU went in a better direction, with Benson being a good friend to her partner and encouraging him to find a way to start talking before he lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

11. Elliot Junior is Born

Almost immediately after their reconciliation, Stabler and his wife became parents for the fifth time. Elliot Junior was born in the most dramatic of fashions, after Kathy got into a car accident that almost lost Stabler both his wife and his newborn son, and viewers breathed a sigh of collective relief when everyone turned out to be all right.

12. Maureen is Traumatized By Stabler's Job

Stabler first realized how much his job affected not just him, but his family, when he was driving Maureen home from a beach party and stopped to help a man who had caught on fire. Maureen was deeply disturbed by what she saw and Stabler didn't really know how to help her come to terms with it, especially since he saw things like that day in and day out.

13. The Stablers Divorce and Then Reconcile

Stabler's heart was broken when his wife Kathy had enough of him putting the job over his family and took the kids to her mother's. His decision to sign the divorce papers was painful and raw, and when he later realized he couldn't live without his family, it was a tearjerker moment.

14. Stabler Is Exposed to HIV

In an early episode, Stabler was exposed to HIV when helping deal with a perp's blood. This was long before HIV medications allowed people to have normal lives or preventative medication was at all comfortable to take, and Stabler became severely ill as a result of the meds he was given to try to protect him from the disease as well as anxious about what his future held.

15. Stabler Is Forced to Take Sick Time When a Case Hits Close To Home

Dr. Huang put another wedge between Stabler and the field of psychiatry when Stabler confided to him that he was having a hard time with a case involving dead children around his kids' ages. Huang reported the incident and Cragen forced Stabler to take sick time despite his insistence that he was fine.

16. Stabler Goes to Solitary Confinement

Stabler usually didn't empathize with perps, often seeing them as the lowest of the low and deserving of whatever happened to them. But there was that one time he spent three days in solitary confinement to see what a perp was going through. When he came out, he was disoriented and thought he'd been there for months rather than just a few days. It was a powerful scene and a powerful lesson for Stabler.

17. Stabler Confronts a Psychotic Stalker

Stabler flirted with the alternate personality of a woman who allegedly had DID in order to get her to sign the right name on a form waiving her right to an attorney. Later, the woman showed up at his house and held Kathy at knifepoint, claiming she was his true love, not his wife. When Stabler came home, he was far more cool-headed than usual, sending Kathy to safety and keeping the woman talking until Benson could sneak up behind her and disarm her.

18. Stabler Offers Benson His Kidney

One of the sweetest moments in Benson and Stabler's relationship came from a conversation in the elevator, in which Stabler said he would give her a kidney if she ever needed one and she said that she would give him hers first. That just about summed up the love they had for one another.

19. Stabler's Final Act

The last time we ever saw Elliot Stabler, he was forced to open fire when a witness began shooting up the squad room. Sister Peg was killed, the season ended, and the next thing we knew, Stabler had resigned off-screen. Though he didn't die, it certainly seemed like it, and his last scene is one that will remain in fans' memories forever.

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Law & Order: SVU Quotes

Benson: Thank you for coming forward.
Woman: What this company is doing, the way it treats women pilots, is despicable. But what you're doing... it's about damn time.

We have two options. One is bad. The other is worse. Either we missed one or... Yeats has a copycat.