LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME Post-Mortem: Ilene Chaiken on the Writers' Approach for Crafting Elliot and Olivia's Journey - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME Post-Mortem: Ilene Chaiken on the Writers’ Approach for Crafting Elliot and Olivia’s Journey

September 30, 2021 by  

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “The Outlaw Eddie Wagner” Episode 203 — Pictured: (l-r) Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler, Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson — (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Thursday, September 30 block of LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT and ORGANIZED CRIME.]

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME revealed what the heck was in that letter—at least some of it.

First, Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) reunited on LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, months after he went undercover…and things were tense.

Professionally, the duo were at odds when Gabe Navarro, the rape suspect SVU was looking at turned out to be a perp OC (and the FBI) had been tracking—going back to Elliot’s days in Puglia.

But personally, Olivia was (understandably) hurt after not hearing from Elliot in months. (He noted he texted, but she dismissed that as being the bare minimum given his still-unresolved ghosting.) And when he indicated going undercover was a good way to not be himself, Olivia was not pleased.

Still, they worked together, as Navarro offered them an in with an even bigger bad guy. Elliot told Olivia he was on her side and to trust him. Unfortunately, during the raid, Navarro raised a gun at Elliot, who was forced to shoot him. When Carisi (Peter Scanavino) went to take Navarro back into custody, they realized he disappeared: he cut a deal with the feds.

The issue of what Elliot knew remained in doubt: OC and the FBI refused to talk, but Elliot insisted to Olivia he was unaware of the plan. She, seemingly, reluctantly believed him, telling Rollins (Kelli Giddish) she knows him better than anyone else. (Rollins, for her part, said she knew him.)

Though the duo didn’t end things on the greatest terms on SVU, things took a turn on ORGANIZED CRIME, when Elliot was drugged while undercover. Out of sorts, he stumbled to Olivia’s home.

“We never talked,” he insisted. “We never talked about what happened.”

She, mistakenly, thought he wanted to talk about Navarro, but he said he wanted to talk about them.

Olivia, very aware that her former partner was not in his right mind to have a serious discussion, tried to shut it down: “Elliot, now is not the time for us to talk .”

“I didn’t write the letter,” he admitted.

“The letter you gave me when you came back from Rome?” she questioned.


“Kathy—your wife—wrote the letter that you told me that you wrote,” she said.

“Yes,” he answered. “It was her idea: It would be easier to talk when we see each other after so much time. I tried and I tried. Kathy helped dictate.”

Now thoroughly invested in the conversation, Olivia started reciting portions of the letter: “That ‘what we were to each other was never real, and that we got in the way of each other being who and where we needed to be?'”

“That was Kathy,” he acknowledged.

“And, ‘If there was a man in my life, you hope he’s the kind, faithful, devoted man that I deserved,'” she continued.


“‘But in a parallel universe…'” she started

“‘It will always be you and I,'” Elliot finished. “I wrote that. I slipped it in there before sealing the envelope.”

Elliot tried to approach her, but collapsed…and then woke up the next morning at Sgt. Ayanna Bell’s (Danielle Moné Truitt) apartment.

As LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME showrunner Ilene Chaiken previously teased, Elliot and Olivia’s discussion about the letter “just makes things more complicated.” (Meloni, for his part, had said, “I think you’re going to set your head on fire when it happens. I think there’s going to be a riot.”)

Feelings, to some extent, will be dealt with,” she said at the time. “And we intend to really treat this relationship…in an adult way and let them really talk to one another and start to get at what it is, what it was, what it might be.”

And that history is something that is front of mind for Chaiken and the LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME and SVU writers when figuring out what the next steps should be. More than 22 years after the characters first appeared together on-screen, there has never been a potential television couple with this much history to work with—and explore.

“My approach is to try not to f— it up,”  Chaiken acknowledges. “And it’s hard!”

At play? “What the fans want, what we want to give the fans, whether careful what you wish for is the operative principle here…our operating principle is not to be coy,” she says. Not to just play, ‘Oh, will they or won’t they, because we think that that’s what works on television,’ but to really think about who these two people are, and to tell a real story about them.”

And outside of this drugged letter confrontation, the duo will have another time to meet up: when SVU and OC cross over in episode 5. (And Elliot and Olivia share a scene with his mother, Bernie—played by Ellen Burstyn—whose confusion led her to think that her son had married Liv.)



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4 Responses to “LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME Post-Mortem: Ilene Chaiken on the Writers’ Approach for Crafting Elliot and Olivia’s Journey”

  1. Cheryl on October 1st, 2021 10:09 am

    I don’t want them together. I know I am in the minority but I don’t think they belong together I think lives can do better

  2. Erica E Brodie on October 1st, 2021 12:43 pm

    Writers why did you tease us fans about possible
    of Eliot and Olivia together romantically, please get together romantically they’re made for each other they had loved each other for awhile now and now that’s Kathy’s dead I don’t see why wouldn’t they get together romantically. I just loved part when Eliot was sleeping and woke up that he thought that Olivia was lying right next to him he woke up and said Olivia’s name. So writers please get these two together romantically they’ve loved each other for a long time now. It’s time they’ve gotten together romantically.

  3. CONZWUELLA Tameica Christian on October 2nd, 2021 4:45 pm

    I think it’s the natural progression after all these years they should have a chance to explore the obvious chemistry.

  4. Rhondo on October 2nd, 2021 6:53 pm

    I don’t want them as a couple romantically. It’s to late for that..They work better together like they always did in the old days enforcing the law.