LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: 5 Hopes for the NBC Drama's Future - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: 5 Hopes for the NBC Drama’s Future

March 16, 2023 by  

Organized Crime future

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — Pictured: “Law & Order: Organized Crime” Key Art — (Photo by: NBC)

With LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME undergoing yet another showrunner change (SVU boss David Graziano will run the rest of season 3 following Sean Jablonski’s exit), the NBC drama is in the midst of another transition.

But with the rest of season 3 still to play out, here are a few hopes about where the show might go in the future…



Go back to long(er) arcs.
When ORGANIZED CRIME was launched, the first season was eight episodes, with the plan for subsequent seasons to consist of three eight-episode arcs. At the time, LAW & ORDER franchise creator Dick Wolf told reporters, “This is the first LAW & ORDER with completely different storytelling.”

In season 2, the show quasi-followed the plan. Though they only had 22 episodes (which is the norm for modern network dramas), the first arc was eight episodes, followed by a “palate cleanser” (which was also the second part of a crossover with SVU), with a five-episode and eight-episode arc closing out the season.

Season 3…has been a little bit of everything. Initial season 3 showrunner Bryan Goluboff planned an overarching story (the casino development), with mini-arcs planned outside of that to give them flexibility in their storytelling. When Goluboff exited, the casino story was closed out (with a few characters lingering around beyond it), and Jablonski focused on mini-arcs, ranging from one to three episodes.

Of Jablonski’s limited run of episodes (that have aired), the best, by a mile, was the three-part trilogy where Jet (Ainsley Seiger) went undercover and Bell (Danielle Moné Truitt) tried to get closure on her former partner’s death. The arc allowed us to see sides of the team we don’t normally get to experience, gave the villains depth we hadn’t seen since season 2, and let the storytelling breathe.

Doing eight-episode arcs might not be ideal—or possible—given this is an abnormality in how Wolf Entertainment/network procedurals tend to work and it’s harder for casual viewers to keep up. But what made OC one of the best shows on network television in 2021 was that it was different. The longer arcs allowed for the show to go deeper into the team’s personal lives as well as dig deeper into the villains we were watching.



Organized Crime future

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “The Good, The Bad and The Lovely” Episode 205 — Pictured: (l-r) Ellen Burstyn as Bernadette Stabler, Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Bring back the personal element.
In the early era of the series, Elliot Stabler’s (Christopher Meloni) personal life was an primary focus, with then-showrunner Ilene Chaiken calling it “one of the features of this show.”

The drama doubled down on that in season 2, bringing back in Elliot’s mother, Bernie (Ellen Burstyn), and the intention was to show more of his family life post-(traditional) undercover work. “We’ll see his kids now that he’s home,” Chaiken said in season 2. “We’ll see his family, we’ll see his mother. We will now live in his life as Elliot Stabler rather than Eddie Ashes. We’re telling some stories about this family, and, in some ways, going deeper than we have before.”

But with Elliot now home and (in theory) by himself sans any major undercover work, season 3 has entirely pushed his family to the side. (Eli was shipped off to college, while Bernie has been out of town/off-screen.)

And while we have (finally) gotten some real insight into Jet’s life, as well as good background information on OCCB’s newest recruits, Ayanna has also seen her personal life almost entirely vanish. Though there were scenes early in season 3 with Ayanna clashing with her now ex-wife and a half-scene of their son, Jack, they’ve also been entirely off-screen for months, with no real acknowledgment of how that trauma/loss is currently impacting her. (Or even if the exes are fighting the way they were/if Denise is still trying to limit Ayanna’s contact with their kid.)

The thing about the aforementioned longer arcs? You can devote time to the characters and what’s driving them. If you have to contain a story within 40 minutes, it’s much harder (understandably!) to deviate from the main case. If you give a case two, three, or four-plus episodes, you can take a couple of scenes per episode and check in with the characters we care about. I want to know how Ayanna is coping with single motherhood; I want to see if she is looking to date or if her heartbreak over how bad things went with Denise has scared her away from love for now. I want to know how Elliot is dealing with being a real empty-nester for the first time in his life; I want to see how Elliot is relating to his now-adult kids or dive into the complex relationship with his mother. We care about these characters beyond them being crime-fighting superheroes…let us see the layers.


LAW AND ORDER ORGANIZED CRIME task force season 3

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “All That Glitters” Episode 307 — Pictured: (l-r)Brent Antonello as Det. Jamie Whelan, Rick Gonzalez as Det. Bobby Reyes, Ainsley Seiger as Det. Jet Slootmaekers Danielle Moné Truitt as Sgt. Ayanna Bell, Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler — (Photo by: Cara Howe/NBC)

Keep the team.
Nothing against the previous versions of the task force—because this is the rare procedural where I think the central team has worked in every version—but this is the best OCCB has been. Let us keep them and continue to watch them grow, both individually and as a unit. The early intentions were to change up everyone outside of Elliot/Ayanna/Jet, but fingers crossed this team sticks around, intact, for a potential season 4.


Organized Crime future

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT — “Gimme Shelter” Episode 24003 — Pictured: (l-r) — (Photo by: Zach Dilgard/NBC)

More crossovers.
I’m going to state the obvious: Crossovers are not easy. (And the reasons also aren’t simple, because it’s not just a desire to do it—it’s scheduling, money, finding the right story, and many other factors in play.)

But arguably there is no better company right now at building shared universes than Wolf Entertainment. The ONE CHICAGO world feels absolutely seamless, with characters popping up when needed (including a cross-show marriage with FIRE’s Mouch and P.D.’s Trudy) The FBIs, over on CBS, aren’t quite as connected, but they intersect when needed and have their own huge crossover coming up.

The LAW & ORDERs? Well, outside of the big, season-launching event, this is the most separate the shows have been since OC launched. Yes, Elliot had a scene on SVU and SVU’s Rollins (Kelli Giddish) came by OC earlier in the season—and Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) has been mentioned or referenced in three other episodes—but the shows are siloed into their own worlds, even when it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. SVU and OC both were tackling gang cases in January, with no overlap. Even if it’s impossible to get Meloni or Hargitay to the other show (or any of the other SVU or OC stars—I’d love to see Jet back on SVU or Fin back on OC), throwaway lines would do so much to acknowledge they all exist in the same universe.

And, yes, to continue being a broken record about this, the coyness both OC and SVU have displayed this season about Elliot and Olivia’s relationship continues to be distracting. If they’re friends outside of work, of course there’s no way to showcase all of that. But despite a scene together and a couple of scenes where they’ve talked about each other, I could not confidently tell you where they stand today. To steal a line from myself, this is actually a case where knowing nothing is distracting and taking away from the current storylines, not a fun mystery.


Organized Crime season 2 spoilers

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “The Man With No Identity” Episode 201 — Pictured: Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler — (Photo by: Zach Dilgard/NBC)

Stop having Elliot Stabler go undercover.
This is pretty self-explanatory, but it was already a little iffy about whether Elliot would have plausibly passed undercover while he was playing Eddie Ashes given the coverage Kathy’s death got.

After that…the Wheatley case (figuratively) blew up, Elliot was forced to confess to his sins via livestream thanks to Wheatley, and then helped take down corrupt cops via the Brotherhood. This man is not exactly unknown.

Yes, maybe he can do a quick one-off UC gig, but, really, at this point, this should be used sparingly. And given how good the rest of the team is at it, hopefully we see more of them shouldering this particular element of the job going forward.

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME, Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

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