Bachelor No. 1, come on out! After months of anticipation and impassioned guessing from fans, Law & Order: SVU will finally reveal Det. Benson's mystery man on Wednesday's episode (9/8c on NBC). So who is the lucky guy? Little is known about the man in question other than he and Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) are taking it slow and that he likes spending major holidays in tropical locales. Ahead of the big reveal, we look at seven possible suspects most likely to have stolen Benson's heart.
David Haden (Harry Connick Jr.)
As soon as Benson first reached for that mysterious hand in the Jan. 2 episode, Hayden was one of the first names that came to fans' minds. Sure, he's no Stabler, but the two enjoyed a pretty hot and heavy romance before they had to part ways due to a conflict of interest. It's been close to a year since Bayard Ellis unknowingly blew up their shot at happiness, so maybe once the dust settled, they decided to give it another go? It also probably doesn't hurt that we hear Haden can carry a tune.
Bayard Ellis (Andre Braugher)
When Braugher was first cast early last season, speculation quickly arose that his character might become something more than a colleague — and occasional rival — to Benson. Although Bayard connected with Benson on a personal level, it seemed purely platonic. However, after Benson forgave him for messing up her relationship with Hayden, maybe they moved out of the friend zone on their trip to Ohio? Racing against the executioner's clock can be a total turn-on.
Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters)
It's been 13 years since Olivia first hooked up with her NYPD colleague way back in Season 1, during what she called a drunken one-night stand. And, let's be honest, she just never seemed that into him. But while it might be hard to remember the duo's brief courtship at the start of the series, it's hard to forget that kiss they shared when Cassidy was in the hospital after being shot while undercover. There's nothing like a brush with death in the line of duty to get someone's priorities in whack.
Nick Amaro (Danny Pino)
Their partnership was rocky at first, but Benson and Amaro have slowly blossomed into one of the squad's strongest. Benson was there by Amaro's side when his wife was overseas, then when she left, and also when he came under suspicion by the NYPD for his friendship with a prostitute who was later murdered. Plus: We know how much Liv loves kids and Amaro's daughter is pretty cute, no? Technically, Amaro was the one inquiring about Benson's new mystery man, but maybe that was the show's way of throwing fans, and the other people at the crime scene, off the scent?
Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza)
As Miss Dionne would say, the boy can dress, Cher. But Barba's snappy clothes are just a small part of the appeal. The man who was the brash, pushy outsider ADA not so long ago has quickly worked his way into the squad's inner circle, especially with Olivia, because of his passion. The plucky Barba is unafraid to go after what he wants or say exactly what he thinks — maybe he saw what he liked in Olivia and just went for it? It would be a nice change of pace from all that will-they-or-won't-they nonsense with Stabler.
Donald Cragen (Dann Florek)
Yes, we know that for longtime SVU fans, this option might seem a little icky. But it's not the most improbable possibility. Benson spends most of her waking hours at work, and she has always enjoyed a close relationship with her boss. It also seems pretty clear that Cragen would be open to a little something extra, considering he only started sleeping with prostitutes out of loneliness and despair. Viewers haven't heard much about his love life since that whole being-falsely-accused-of-murdering-a-prostitute fiasco, so maybe Olivia was the one to cure his heartache?
Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni)
Breathe easy, Stabler fans! We saved what many consider to be the best possibility for last. After 12 seasons of sharing a close partnership and a rare friendship, maybe Stabler finally thought it was the right time to make a move now that he and Olivia aren't working together anymore. It doesn't hurt that Capt. Cragen only said in the Season 13 premiere that Stabler abruptly resigned the force, but nothing about him leaving the Tri-State area. Our best guess is that he didn't go far, so as to as stay close to his five kids. Although Stabler was married when he was last seen on-screen, who is to say his abrupt decision to leave the force wasn't part of a bigger midlife crisis that also brought down his shaky marriage once and for all?
Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.
Who do you think Benson's mystery man is?