Ratings: ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Hits Highest Viewership Since Chris Meloni’s Return in April 2021

The bump was all thanks to the heat between Stabler and Benson’s much-anticipated almost kiss

The romantic chemistry between “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” characters Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is heating up — just like the NBC procedural’s viewership, which hit a new high since Meloni’s return to the series in April 2021 following his Season 12 departure.

In Thursday night’s episode, which averaged 5.8 million watchers during the 9 p.m. primetime slot per Nielsen live plus same-day figures, the two characters — who have long flirted with being more than partners and friends — shared a much-anticipated almost kiss. Season 24, Episode 12, titled “Blood Out,” also won the night in the 18-49 demographic, netting 0.67 in ratings.

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Natalie Oganesyan

Prior to becoming a TV reporter at TheWrap in 2022, Natalie served as a general entertainment news reporter. She has covered film, television, music and business beats for two years, beginning her career as an intern at Variety, where she continued to freelance as a TV features reporter. Since then, Natalie has been a Celebrity News Writer at BuzzFeed and contributed to such publications as Metacritic and Vox Media, where she was part of the company's inaugural Writers Workshop.