The bad news: Law & Order: Organized Crime is taking another hiatus.
The good news: It left us with one of the most intense, compelling episodes in a while.
Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 Episode 16 thrust Stabler more deeply into the investigation into Donnelley, bringing him face-to-face with his father’s flaws, while Bell worried that Nova was getting lost in her undercover mission.
Stabler’s always hated dirty cops, so it might have seemed strange that he was getting attached to Donnelley and his crew.
But as this episode quickly established, it was much deeper than that.
Stabler: It just feels like betrayal. I know what I’m doing is right but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m betraying these people even though they’re the ones who are betraying their oath.
Therapist: Tell me more about what’s behind this feeling.
Stabler: My father.
Therapist: What does he have to say?
Stabler: Nothing. He’s been dead about 30 years.
Stabler’s chasing ghosts with this one. Donnelley’s the kid of his father’s partner, so Stabler’s memories of his father are right around the corner every time he works this case.
And if Donnelley’s telling the truth, that award that meant so much to Stabler Sr and his son was based on a lie.
That’s a lot for Stabler to process, especially while he’s in the middle of working Donnelley so he can put an end to his illegal activities. No wonder he feels conflicted!
This case is personal for Stabler, both because of his father’s influence and his friendship with Donnelley.
But it’s not the first time Stabler’s gotten overly attached. As Eddie Wagner, he forged a friendship with Reggie, the black sheep of the Albanian mob, and hated having to betray him.
Maybe Benson’s warnings that Stabler could easily lose himself while working undercover were more accurate than she realized.
Speaking of Benson, does anyone else sniff an SVU crossover coming?
The team is looking into whether the Marcy Killers are involved in trafficking women, which is a case that has SVU’s name written all over it. Bell even said she referred the matter to them.
If SVU investigates on-screen, it could be another two-hour crossover event. It could even be three hours if Bernard and Cosgrove get called to a Marcy Killer-involved murder scene.
This could be epic!
Bell’s group was also investigating a double homicide, so why not?
I’m not entirely clear why the Marcy Killers put hits on Bonnie and Angelica. It has something to do with the sex trafficking scheme, but I’m not sure what.
Organized Crime is full of small details like that which viewers often miss at first glance. That’s one of the things that sets it apart from the other shows in the franchise.
Nothing is self-contained, and small details end up mattering. Many viewers have to watch two or three times to get everything, which is not bad.
The attention to detail is one of the things that makes this series compelling, as is the multi-episode arcs.
Realistically, organized crime cases can’t be solved within an hour or two, and it would feel cheap and ridiculous if the series tried to. Instead, Organized Crime deals with multiple intersecting investigations as they try to take down powerful crime syndicates.
Webb continued to demonstrate that he was an improvement over the more cartoonish Wheatley. He felt like a real gang leader, and Nova is going to have to watch her back carefully if she’s going to proceed with this undercover mission.
Bell has been trying to pull her for several weeks now, but that would be counterproductive.
It would make it obvious something was fishy if Nova disappeared soon after being promoted to second-in-command. She has to play her part now, and Bell should understand that.
Bell is too by-the-book for undercover work. She constantly worries about her officers turning into criminals for real and wants to pull them at the first sign of trouble, even though that would make things worse for them and the mission most of the time.
She tried that with Stabler earlier in the season, and he turned her down, as he should. Now she’s trying the same thing with Nova, who also turned her down.
My only quibble with Nova is that her late girlfriend seems to have been forgotten.
When her girlfriend first died, Nova was so upset that she considered quitting undercover work. Now, the woman is rarely, if ever, mentioned, and her death no longer seems to influence Nova’s decisions.
That’s bad storytelling. Nova and her girlfriend both deserve better.
Her arguments with Bell about undercover work are beginning to be redundant. Bell can’t talk Nova out of undercover work, and it’s too late, anyway.
One of the reasons we go undercover is to understand the psyche of the criminals we’re investigating. And sometimes, without even realizing it, the worlds begin to blur.
Nova seems to be focused on the mission, while Bell is focused on Nova’s safety. There isn’t any way to both catch high-level criminals and keep the officers doing the catching safe. Bell needs to realize that.
Finally, where does Stabler’s new boss fit into all of this?
The guy seemed like the stereotypical ball-busting commander, but does he know Stabler’s undercover?
The fewer people who know, the better. But it would be hard to pull something like this off while leaving Stabler’s commanding officer in the dark.
Your turn, Organized Crime fanatics!
Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button to share your thoughts about this intense episode and your theories for what’s going to happen next.
And if you need a refresher between now and April 7, watch Law & Order: Organized Crime online right here on TV Fanatic.
Law & Order: Organized Crime airs on Thursdays at 10 PM EST / PST. The next new episode airs on April 7, 2022.