‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ Showrunner Addresses Stabler’s ‘I Love You’ to Benson

Organized Crime Premiere SVU Crossover Stabler Benson Reunion
Christopher Del Sordo/NBC

“I love you.” With those three words, from Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) to his former partner, Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), fans of Law & Order: SVU and Organized Crime were left speechless during the latter’s April 22 episode.

But what exactly did Stabler mean by those words? “We know that she means a great deal to him,” Organized Crime showrunner Ilene Chaiken tells TV Insider. “That moment, it seems to me, was a multifaceted moment in which most importantly, he wasn’t entirely responsible for and in control of what he was saying. He could have been speaking directly to her. He could have been speaking to his whole family and her.

“There’s no question that he has love for her, whether it’s romantic love, I don’t know and I’m not ready to answer yet. But it was definitely something that came out during a moment of unfiltered agony and confusion for Stabler.”

That moment came in the middle of an intervention held by Benson and Stabler’s kids, due to them recognizing the detective’s PTSD in the wake of his wife Kathy’s (Isabel Gillies) death. When Benson asked what he needed, he dropped that bombshell, then, after a moment, added, “I love all of you.” He knew he was “drowning,” but he wasn’t ready to “grab on to” the others, as she told him to. “All you’re doing is pushing me further under,” he said. “It’s like a weight that is dragging me down.”

That weight just got heavier after the May 13 episode. Stabler thought the bomb that killed Kathy was meant for him and later learned she was the target. Now, he has just found out that it was not mobster Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) who ordered the hit, but his ex-wife Angela (Tamara Taylor) — the same woman Stabler’s been growing close to and kissed.

Chaiken won’t say much about how Stabler handles that shocking twist other than to point out, “there are so many ways that Stabler could handle this, given who he’s been and who he’s become.”

Law & Order: SVU, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC

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