LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: 6 Burning Questions about the New SVU Spinoff - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: 6 Burning Questions about the New SVU Spinoff

July 30, 2020 by  

Law and Order: Organized Crime Questions

Pictured: Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler

When NBC returns with new scripted series later this year—in theory, this fall, but COVID-19 restrictions permitting—the sole new show on its lineup is scheduled to be LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME.

The series in many ways is familiar: the show is an expansion of the LAW & ORDER world (Dick Wolf’s fifth active show on NBC alone, when you add in the ONE CHICAGO trio) and is being led by former LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT star Christopher Meloni, who is reprising his Elliot Stabler character to lead up a new team.

But outside of that? There are still a lot of mysteries.

With so much still unknown, we broke down a few of the biggest questions about the upcoming SVU spinoff…

Where has Elliot Stabler been?

If we are to take the logline literally, Elliot hasn’t been in New York—or a part of the NYPD—in the nearly ten years since he was last seen on LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS.*

But even with TV playing fast and loose with restrictions, there’s virtually no way that’s the entire story. Elliot, seemingly, left the NYPD after a clean shoot where he didn’t want to jump through the necessary hoops to get his job back, but he was a detective. It would make no sense that he suddenly be handed a unit (with, almost certainly, a sizable promotion), one he was never a part of, after all of this time just because something brought him back into the mix.

So, was he really gone? Has he quietly been with some version of Organized Crime (or another law enforcement agency), working this entire time? (And if he’s been in the NYPD for a number of years, uh, how many people from the SVU universe knew? Or was he undercover, out of city/state?)

*This is with the caveat that due to production restrictions, it very well could be a full decade (or more) by the time this show actually airs.

What is this “devastating personal loss?”

With the original plan being that Elliot’s wife—Maybe? It’s been nine years and they certainly had their share of marital issues, including a two-plus season split during his tenure with the show—and son were going to be in the season 21 finale of SVU (as a set-up to his arrival), it’s absolutely possible the show is going to go in a very, very dark direction and either kill off one of his kids or Kathy. But Elliot also has a large extended family—a mother and five siblings that were alive when we last saw him—and with nine years between appearances, who he has found and loved since then is still a very big mystery.

If this is the loss of a child…ORGANIZED CRIME boss Matt Olmstead, who ran CHICAGO P.D., has some experience in writing that. But given Elliot’s prior anger issues—and the similarities to PD’s Voight as it is—it will be a delicate line to toe.

(Of course, this is also assuming the devastating personal loss is truly a death. Or a death of someone in his family. It’s hard to think what would shake the Elliot we knew as much as the loss of some element of his family—and he was at his lowest as he tried to grapple with his new normal when Kathy left him during the series—but this will be a changed character. It could, in theory, be a partner, because he also didn’t handle Olivia’s brief departures well, either, and if he’s been working with someone for years who was/is killed…)

What kind of cop will he be?

Prior to the nationwide discussion about the responsibility of cop shows, there was still no chance that Elliot Stabler of SVU seasons 1-12 could be the character that anchored ORGANIZED CRIME. As it is, SVU is in a rare, complicated position of being on so long its older episodes often feel dated. (It’s a similar problem GREY’S ANATOMY has, especially in regard to a nickname that was given to a central character, that was uncomfortable then and feels a million times worse in 2020.)

SVU has often contended with this on the show itself—after years of the cops telling suspects they’d be attacked in prison, one took them at their word, and when he was released, he took revenge on Olivia (framing her for murder) because he thought she arranged his attack while he was serving his time. The general behavior of the cops has evolved as the times have changed, characters have swapped in and out (or grown), and writers have cycled in and out. To be clear, the on-screen cops are still a relatively idealized version of police officers, but television as a whole has evolved a lot in even the last few years.

But Elliot has been gone for a long time. He had gone through the worst of his rage in the middle part of his time on SVU, but his approach even by the end certainly wouldn’t be okay now. Heck, it’s hard to imagine any of the present-day cops on TV will look the same after the (justified) spotlight that has been pointed to police procedurals in the past few months. And since the logline for the show noted Elliot “must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning,” it indicates the show will tackle this head-on.

What will the OC team look like?

Right now, the only person on this elite team we know about is…Elliot. How big will the team be? What level of experience do they have, what kind of history do they have with Elliot and each other? And will any other character be a vet of the Dick Wolf extended universe?

How intertwined will the two LAW & ORDER shows be?

The LAW & ORDER shows have traditionally stayed in their little corner of the world, with an occasional crossover or character being shared. But in the years since there was a legitimate modern L&O franchise on television, Wolf has expanded his reach with the ONE CHICAGO universe and FBI’s corner of the (CBS) world.

To be clear, this will be its own show and will have to stand on its own. But one of the things that has made the ONE CHICAGO world feel believable is how intertwined it is, even beyond the headline-grabbing big crossovers. It’s not unusual for a regular to pop up for a scene on another show, because the firefighters, cops, and police officers would naturally work together and interact beyond the couple of crossovers per year. Will the new expanded LAW & ORDER franchise follow suit?

(For what it’s worth, Meloni indicated on a recent episode of THE TALK that Mariska Hargitay will appear on ORGANIZED CRIME in addition to his time on SVU, but he was also cautious to note he didn’t know how much it would be given her leading role on SVU.)

What will the reunion between Elliot and Olivia look like?

The relationship between Olivia and Elliot was complicated. After spending 13-ish years as partners (12 of which made up the first dozen seasons of the show; they had been partners for a year pre-series), Elliot ghosted Olivia, leaving their boss to tell her he quit and seemingly not answering any of her messages. (He did, eventually, send her a package.)

But…that was it.

He missed her promotions, her brutal (publicly reported) attacks, her becoming a mother. Does he know about any of that? We don’t know what he’s gone through. They are not the same people they were the last time they saw each other. They cannot—and will not—fall into their old dynamic, because there is no way they’re the same people they were back then. But what will they be? We’ve seen them fight viciously—and they had a very specific way/tone of fighting—so how much of that remains? Will it be a fight? Uneasy peace? Guilt and resentment? And if Elliot lost or loses someone, will Olivia actually be allowed to feel whatever she wants, or will she have to try and bury it to move into care-taking mode? (And if they do start to resolve some of their longstanding issues, whether it’s in the opening hours of their respective shows or later in the season, which series will it be on?)



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