About Last Night...LAW & ORDER, GHOSTS, LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote


November 11, 2022 by  


LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “All That Glitters” Episode 307 — Pictured: Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler — (Photo by: Ralph Bavaro/NBC)

Let’s talk about Thursday night’s TV!

LAW & ORDER: I actually really, really enjoyed this episode. (I’d argue it was the best of the L&O franchise hours last night.) Mark Feuerstein was a great presence, who was absolutely needed to anchor an episode like this…to pull off a smarmy psycho who also poses as his own lawyer, you need charisma, and he was great.

I also appreciated that we got a scene with three of the women talking about the difficulties of their relationships, plus the continued intermingling of the lawyer and cop side of things. I really hope they continue to play with that, because it’s absolutely working. 

Really, really, really hope the show reveals more about Violet’s partner (if they’re good—please don’t let it be someone who gets entangled in a case), because it sure seemed like she may have been implying she was queer…

I also appreciate that even if Grace did the right thing, she was also correct: she was going to get slut-shamed and screwed over for daring to have a sexual appetite. She has every right to be mad, even if it helped put a murderer away. (And WTF was wrong with that judge? Sketchy as hell.)

GHOSTS: Poor Pete, even if being killed due, in part, to an argument about donuts is a delightfully bonkers way to die. (Though tragic he didn’t get the donut holes before his untimely death.) I loved that we were able to see how much Pete really did make an impact on his troop (beyond, you know, scarring them for life by dying in front of them), because Jennifer jumped in when Jay got shot with an arrow, with absolutely zero hesitation.

I absolutely loved the meta element of the crew filming the docuseries at the mansion…and the ghosts using their powers to try and stop it. Hetty as an EP?!? Perfection. And chef’s kiss to Sam acting in DUMB DEATH at the end as Flower.

[For more on the episode, here’s what Richie Moriarty shared.]

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT: This was a perfectly fine episode. Not my favorite hour ever, but not offensive; completely serviceable for an installment of the show. I appreciate the dynamic Muncy has with Velasco and Fin, respectively, and I’m curious how the show will handle things when it’s down to just the three of them as Olivia’s subordinates. (I’m also going to miss Rollins and Velasco, who have always had a fun banter; Rollins was a part of many of Velasco’s best moments last year.)

The one thing I wish the show had done more effectively was the final conversation between Olivia and a young survivor. Olivia has direct experience with grooming, and has had to contend with it head-on, multiple times, in the past 13 months. She does not owe anyone her story—and I would like to pretend she didn’t do what she did in Burton’s second episode, frankly—but I wish, somehow, the show had done more to acknowledge this was something Olivia could actually speak to.

[In case you missed the news, Muncy is also officially sticking around: Molly Burnett was made a series regular.]

GREY’S ANATOMY: Oy. There was a bit of good: The look on Richard’s face when Owen pitched himself as chief? Incredible. Owen realizing it should actually be Teddy? Lovely.

But Maggie stealing Meredith’s wedding post-it, claiming her half-sister would lose it? Oh, absolutely not. Meredith would value that, come on. And then lightning destroying the home? Sigh. I get Meredith is going to be starting over, but eesh.

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: Canon is a tricky thing. In non-franchise films and books, the couple of hours or a couple hundreds of pages in your hands are the text; it’s what happened and anything else beyond that is a world you can wonder “what if?” to. Television shows? Well, they’re a monster to deal with.

The fact is, no matter how much a series shows, unless it’s something real-time like 24, you’re not living with characters every moment of the day. You’ll see the big stuff, but there’s almost always room for them to sneak in, “Hey, this notable thing happened to a character you know a few years ago—surprise!” (For a very recent example, look at last week’s NEW AMSTERDAM and Lauren.)

Things get a lot more complicated when a well-known character spends a decade off-screen. It’s made approximately 75 billion times more complicated when said character’s return is (at least partially) crafted by writers who are new to him and won’t be writing his continuation on the spinoff…and then said spinoff finds itself on its third showrunner since the show was up and running.

(And before we get too deep into this—because, spoiler alert, this is going to get long—it needs to be said, again, that the showrunner shift and its impact cannot be understated on what’s going on now. It would not be fair to credit former boss Bryan Goluboff or current boss Sean Jablonski with last night’s episode. Yes, Jablonski was working on the show for more than a month at the time this filmed, in theory, but this episode would have almost certainly been broken/in the very, very early stages of the scripting process. But it also was far enough away from production where he likely would have been able to do some rewrites—especially with scene dynamics/how the characters interacted with each other—and he could have pulled anything that he felt didn’t work.)

The “problem” about canon in television is…uber fans know what happened. They know what they’ve seen, they know what’s been implied. They know what they don’t know. And when a character who has a 23-year history within a franchise is at the center of a spinoff show, that’s two shows’ lore to contend with.

What Elliot did in his decade away has been, for the most part, glossed over. In his SVU reintroduction, we found out he did a walkabout (?!) post-leaving SVU, moved to Europe, and eventually became the NYPD’s international liaison in Rome, doing work on the terrorism task force and trying to prevent international sex trafficking. In a scene in the ORGANIZED CRIME pilot, his daughter said that Kathy was under the impression that he wasn’t doing dangerous work, and questioned whether Kathy lied to them or he lied to Kathy. (Elliot said Kathy would never lie, but him lying to his wife also immediately contradicted his earlier claim to Olivia that he and Kathy had been happy. Of course, Kathy not believing Olivia and Elliot hadn’t spoken in a decade also implied she didn’t trust her husband, so there’s a strong case to be made that Elliot was in a bit of denial about the state of his relationship.)

Many, many years ago, when BONES’ pilot aired, there was a throwaway line about Booth and Brennan working together before the series premiere’s case and it not going well. Episode 100 (I guess dozen-year spoiler alert?) went back to that case and showcased how they fell apart…and that the notorious will they/won’t they duo actually kissed the first time they worked together. On paper, it shouldn’t have made sense (and should have been infuriating), but it was actually brilliant: It explained a lot about why their dynamic was the way it was, and recalling that era pushed Booth to put it all out there to Brennan in present-day.

The L&O franchise is in a tough spot, because, on one hand, if they dig too deep into Elliot’s time away, it’s very likely any kind of logic will fall apart, especially whenever they handle the wildly overdue William Lewis conversation. (Because, truly, how can he not know? At the same time, if they ever reveal he did know, there’s virtually no excuse that could make his absence okay.) But, on the other hand, if you’re going to bring in someone from his past when we know so little, you have to actually…reveal something of substance. BONES was an incredible showcase of how to dive into what has been established to shed new light on a vague time we knew about and use it to push your central story forward.

With Tia’s arrival, we found out Elliot was losing his mojo in Italy and she helped him. Um, why? How? Elliot being allowed back into the NYPD after he quit is still a mystery…this wasn’t grunt work, or any kind of a demotion, he was their liaison in Rome. He was involved in international, delicate matters. If he was unhappy, and he thought things were going well with Kathy, why wouldn’t he have left the force again? If anything, the small bit of information we got about their time abroad made Elliot’s time away more murky. And Tia pretty relentlessly hitting on Elliot, including coming to his place after they solved the case, while also invoking his dead wife and how special that relationship was…it was odd.

There’s also the Olivia-shaped elephant in the room. As much as OC has to stand on its own from SVU (and has), Olivia’s shadow was all over this episode. Kathy liked Tia? Okay. But, again, Kathy thought Elliot and Olivia lied to her for a decade—while also insisting the two reunite for Olivia’s ceremony and had Elliot pen a letter minimizing their entire relationship. Olivia literally saved Kathy and Eli’s life the day he was born—and proved time and again over more than a dozen years that she would do anything to protect and preserve the Stabler family—but Tia is the one Kathy liked? Why? What was it about Tia that made her such a non-threat? (Heck, Kathy even disliked Dani, knowing nothing about her, and she and Elliot had been split for almost two years at that point.)

But going back to the whole canon thing, Olivia used to be incredibly intertwined with OC. In the first season, Mariska Hargitay was physically in five of the eight episodes, while Olivia was mentioned in another one. While it’s very clear Elliot was dealing with extreme PTSD and trauma, it was also the most explicit he/the show has ever been about his feelings, as he literally told her he loved her; he told her he was thinking about her in Rome; he said she means the world to him; he handed her a letter that had a singular line penned by him, which implied they’d be together in a parallel universe; and Wheatley called her the one true love of Elliot’s life.

Olivia was still a presence in the Albanian arc in season 2, but it tapered off after “The Christmas Episode”; in 2022, she’s only been in three episodes (including the franchise-wide crossover), and mentioned, explicitly or implicitly, in a handful more. But even if she’s not on screen, those moments haven’t gone away. And nothing has really been explored with any real depth, so these are plot points that feel like they got dropped, or pushed to the backburner, as the showrunners changed.

Again, not everything can be shown, but right now viewers are entirely in the dark about their current relationship. This year, Elliot wanted to take Olivia and Noah out and she deferred until post-Brotherhood; he accidentally ran into them and met Noah, and the shows revealed Olivia and Noah hadn’t gone to the Stabler Christmas party; Olivia’s therapist told her (on SVU) to explore what was going on with Elliot or move on. Originally, we were going to see that discussed; we were going to see them work together and lean on each other. Now? Shrug.

One of the big problems with everything being left up to the viewer to decide is it makes the final Elliot and Tia scene a lot more uncomfortable. If Olivia pulled away and asked Elliot for space, just pulled away and didn’t tell him anything, or he’s been asking her out for months and she’s turned him down/implied this is not something she’s ready for—all of which is understandable given how he left her and what’s gone on since he returned—that’s one thing. If they’re “my friend”-ing each other, looking as if they are the heart eyes emoji personified, and inching toward something more, him possibly getting entangled with another former partner is messy as hell and deeply unfair to Olivia.

I was (and still am) of the opinion Elliot and Olivia are talking, even if it’s just super casually, based on the conversation he had with Rollins a few weeks back; it would have been wildly irresponsible of Olivia to loop Elliot into a case where he wasn’t really needed, hours after he was publicly torn apart. Olivia was very, very aware of how he handled trauma in the past, and putting him with vulnerable victims if she didn’t know he was OK…would be bad. And like I said at the time, if he asked Rollins how Olivia was after not being in contact with her directly, he would have been risking Rollins and/or Olivia tearing him apart.

So I don’t know what to make of the Tia of it all. To go back to BONES, after Booth was shot down by Brennan, he moved on, temporarily. Maybe we’ll discover next week Elliot’s attempting to move forward with Tia because he thinks he missed his shot with Olivia. Maybe we’ll see him turn her down because of the limbo he’s in with Olivia. Maybe we’ll have to decide for ourselves and we won’t find out for months (or ever).

It’s frustrating to be so in the dark, especially when Wolf Entertainment actually (generally) does an incredible job of making their franchises feel like a cohesive world. (And when we saw how SVU/OC handled this in season 22/1.) I can understand if the creative teams decided to pause to make sure they took the right big step versus making a messy, complicated situation worse. But this is actually a case where knowing nothing is distracting and taking away from the current storylines, not a fun mystery. Even as the showrunners—and plans—change, it doesn’t impact what we know and have seen on-screen.

Okay, a few general thoughts about this episode, outside of that.

  • The mini-novel above aside, I actually didn’t mind the episode. The Reyes arc is still my favorite so far this season, but I enjoyed this more than the Kenny one.
  • Jet was married?! When do we get to meet her ex? (Or her dad, who still won’t speak to her? Ugh, poor Jet.)
  • I deeply, deeply want to be wrong about this, but, uh, anyone else alarmed Bell didn’t hear from Tia’s team? Yeah, she was going rogue, but shouldn’t she still have bosses who would have wanted to reply to Bell’s messages to be like, “Yeah, she’s ours, WTF is going on there?” And then Tia showed up at Elliot’s place, uninvited, twice, with (presumably) no official way of knowing where he lived initially?
  • My kingdom for them to stop relying on shootouts. Nearly the entire task force firing their weapons and making contact has to be like a full week of paperwork for Bell. But in all seriousness, if we’re going to cycle through many mini-arcs this season, they can’t go back to this trope so frequently when they try to capture someone. There are plenty of ways for them to be badass action stars.
  • Jet and Jamie undercover was very sweet and fun. I love how much he wants her to like him and he genuinely seems to care about her. I also laughed out loud at the younger trio trying to figure who Tia was and where she worked; their dynamic could be a lot of fun going forward.
  • I’m glad we got an official confirmation of where Bernie and Eli were, but if they were going to tweak the original plan, I wish Eli was still home and Bernie was with Kathleen. Viewers saw Eli’s birth less than 15 years ago, so college, now, is…a choice.

I am very thankful Bell acknowledged, in episode, there’s no way Elliot can go undercover right now.

Which shows did you watch last night?

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