‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ Continues to Tease Stabler’s Feelings for Benson (RECAP)

Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler in Law & Order Organized Crime
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 premiere “The Man With No Identity.”]

Organized Crime kicks off its second season with Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) undercover with the Albanian mob, and even as “Eddie Wagner,” he can’t escape people commenting on his feelings for his former partner, SVU‘s Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay).

But first, a quick introduction to the new players and case, to understand what Stabler’s mixed up in and how much his love life really shouldn’t matter right now. Stabler has gotten Reggie (Dash Mihok), a midlevel lieutenant in the organization, to trust him, but things get messy when dirty harbor cops get involved when they’re picking up a shipment of cocaine. Also in the mix: a Narcotics task force run by Sergeant Ayanna Bell’s (Danielle Moné Truitt) former commanding officer, Sergeant Brewster (Guillermo Diaz), has also been tracking cocaine shipments.

Reggie’s uncle, Albi Briscu (Vinnie Jones), isn’t happy they lost his investment (drugs), and Stabler risks one of his rules by making a promise he may not be able to keep (to get it back). Both the Organized Crime unit and the Albanian mob’s investigations lead to the dirty harbor cops and the information that the drugs are now in the hands of a member of the Marcy Killers, a street gang that’s run like a multi-national corporation. When Reggie reports back to Albi, his uncle orders, “Paint the streets red with the blood of the Marcy Killers.” Mr. Webb (Mykelti Williamson), meanwhile, is trying to clean up his organization’s mess, meeting with the Marcy Killer who has the drugs.

The NYPD braces for an all-out war, rightfully so, but en route to go after the Marcy Killers, Albi receives a call and has everyone turn around. It’s at a family gathering that we find out why: Jon Kosta (Michael Raymond-James), the boss, called it off. Stabler’s handling bartending, and Kosta takes note of him. Reggie vouches for him. Then Webb and other Marcy Killers show up with Kosta’s drugs. Though it looks like Kosta might actually pull the trigger on one of them, he doesn’t and instead, the meeting ends with a partnership between the two organizations.

Guillermo Diaz as Brewster, Danielle Moné Truitt as Bell in Law & Order Organized Crime

Zach Dilgard/NBC

Oh, and after Stabler gives Kosta “The Godfather” drink, the organization boss really notices him — and isn’t sure if he likes him. That spells trouble for the undercover detective.

And that means it’s the worst possible time to have any potential feelings he may have for his former partner on his mind. But when Reggie brings him to meet his mother, she reads his coffee grounds and asks, “Why don’t you tell her how you feel? The person you love.” She’s the second person with a connection (through her son) to a criminal enterprise to comment on Stabler’s feelings for Benson (with Dylan McDermott‘s Richard Wheatley doing so in Season 1). If this isn’t leading to something, what’s the point?

As for Stabler’s undercover work, honestly, we’re more interested in seeing how Bell handles it, given what happened to her last UC in a criminal enterprise, than we are in the case itself. (Charlotte Sullivan’s Gina Cappelletti was killed when her cover was blown in Season 1.)

Barbara Eve Harris as Athena Davis, Dylan McDermott as Richard Wheatley in Law & Order Organized Crime

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Elsewhere in the premiere:

  • Richard Wheatley has been cooperating with the feds. As a result, the charges of money laundering, embezzlement, drug trafficking, and assault have been dismissed. (Yes, seriously.) He claims to intend to do more good than anyone ever imagined he could do and to make himself the worst enemy of every criminal organization on Earth. But he’s not free yet: It’s back to Rikers to await trial for the outstanding murder charge.
  • There’s clearly no love lost between Bell and Brewster, and they’re made co-commanders of a joint task force for this case. We can’t wait to find out more about their history (and really, to see Bell take him down a peg just because he’s gunning for her).
  • Angela (Tamara Taylor) survived the hit her ex-husband Richard put on her. But she’s still recovering, with walking three whole blocks progress, whereas she used to run six miles every morning. And it seems like she may be having memory problems as well, given her reaction when Bell checks if she’ll be OK to testify at her ex-husband’s trial for the murder of Kathy Stabler (Isabel Gillies).
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The actress also talks about playing an LGTBQ character and gives props to executive producer Ileane Chaiken for that part of her story.
  • Bell’s wife, Denise Bullock (Keren Dukes), tells her Congressman Kilbride (Ron Cephas Jones) is taking an interest in Damian’s lawsuit against the NYPD. He knows she’s married to an officer and thinks it’s a good opportunity to reframe the conversation around police misconduct. “He’s one of the good ones,” Denise says. “He’s been in this fight his whole life.” But he was with Mr. Webb ….

Law & Order: Organized Crime, Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC