Back at the cop shop, "Research" Jeffries makes a cameo appearance to tell Stabler and Benson, "I've been cross-checking Harper's CSAAT, you know, looking for victims who use her hair salon, grocery store, dry cleaners." There are victims at each place, but none of their attacks are similar to Harper's. See ya next week, Jeffries. Cragen comes out of his office with a piece of paper and asks Stabler if Harper strikes him as "the kind of woman who would buy $500 worth of hand-packed meats?" Hee hee! Someone used Harper's credit cards, and Munch and Cassidy are bringing the suspect over from the two-seven (Briscoe!).
In the hallway, Munch is walking with a blond guy in cuffs, introducing him to Stabler: "This is Ron Johnson." Stabler notes that the guy's reputation precedes him: "Yeah. Meat lover." HA HA HA HA!! Behind them, Cassidy catches up to Benson and stops her to very discreetly give her watch to her, saying she left it behind at his place. She thanks him and starts walking again, but he tells her to wait, that he wants to see her again. Aw, he's so puppy-dog cute in this episode! Benson's annoyed with him, and lays it out for him like he's either very young or very slow: "Um, Cassidy, we went to Maloney's [Meloni's?], we got drunk, and I wanted it to happen as much as you did. But that's all I wanted to happen." Is she insane? She must be. Cassidy thinks he understands her motivation: "This is about what happened at Harper's apartment, right? No, my doubting -- not doubting -- but my questioning you and questioning Harper. That was just the job; that wasn't personal!" "You know what?" asks Benson. "Neither was last night," and with that she leaves him standing there, open-mouthed. Bummer.
Over at the lockers, Stabler is putting stuff away as Benson opens her locker and asks, "Where's the meathead?" He's in the interrogation room, of course. The partners chitchat about what else someone would spend a free $500 on, and we see that Stabler has pictures of his kids in his locker and an American flag sticker on the front. What a guy. Seemingly out of nowhere, he asks, "How long you been sleeping with Cassidy?" Benson is so caught, but stutters, "Uh, I'm not." Stabler: "Your stomach just dropped two floors, Olivia. The unconscious doesn't lie." "I'm not lying," she protests. "Not much." Stabler's all therapist: "Mmm hmmm." Benson wonders if it's that obvious. Stabler's all, "I'm your partner, for better or worse [swoon!]. Look, everybody knows too much about everybody else in this office anyway." Benson tells him that she broke a personal rule, and now Cassidy wants to see her again. Stabler asks if she can blame him. Uh, not that you asked me, but I can. Benson whines, "I can't do it right now. I didn't mean for this to -- I mean, I guess you never do." Stabler's way wise and says, "Sometimes you do. Be nice to him, maybe even over-nice. He'll be cold, but he'll get over it. It happens." Benson: "Really?" Stabler: "Really. Cragen's waiting for us." I have to say, as much as Benson's whining annoys the hell out of me, this scene was really well done and went a long way in demonstrating the friendship that exists between these partners. The fact that it portrayed my boyfriend as the world's greatest friend, looking out for both Benson and Cassidy, didn't hurt my opinion of it either.