LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: Danielle Moné Truitt Previews Bell's Ongoing Grief and New Work Troubles in Season 4 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: Danielle Moné Truitt Previews Bell’s Ongoing Grief and New Work Troubles in Season 4

January 15, 2024 by  

Organized Crime season 4 preview

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “Blood Ties” Episode 317 — Pictured: Danielle Moné Truitt as Sgt. Ayanna Bell — (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC)

As LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME kicks off its fourth season on Thursday, January 18 (at 10/9c), the OCCB task force is in a delicate place. Bell (Danielle Moné Truitt) is still trying to help her team cope with the loss of their colleague and friend, Whelan (Brent Antonello), who was catastrophically injured and died in the season finale. Stabler (Christopher Meloni), meanwhile, has been deep undercover for months trying to get intel on a dangerous fentanyl lab.

Off-screen, there’s been change as well: John Shiban was tapped in October to run the series…but he and the writers had to hit the ground running while the actors were still on strike. After the SAG-AFTRA strike concluded, “I did get to talk to him [about season 4]—I wished him luck,” Truitt jokes with a laugh to Give Me My Remote in the video below. “He laughed. He was like, ‘Thank you so much.’”

With a quick turnaround from the writers’ room opening in late October to production starting back up in mid-December, “I talked to [Shiban] as much as I could, at that time—this was like right after the [SAG-AFTRA] strike ended—about what he had in mind [for] this season,” Truitt recalls. “One of his big things was to just to keep the world grounded. [For] our show to just feel like, ‘Oh, it’s really happening…everything that’s happening in our world could actually be happening.’”

While the actress acknowledges she doesn’t know exactly how the 13-episode season will be formatted—season 1 was a singular story; season 2 had three pods (and a “bonus” episode); season 3 balanced mini-arcs and episodic-storytelling—early installments indicate that the quest to take down the drug lab will be around for a while. (However, Stabler returns from his UC assignment in the premiere.)

“I feel like there’s an [underlying] story of this fentanyl drug operation that’s happening,” Truitt says. “I feel like there’s an undercurrent of that. And then there’s other little things that pop up, from episode to episode, as we continue to navigate these B- and C-stories that pop up, but this fentanyl drug operation thing is definitely part of it.”

Character-wise, “[Shiban] wanted to definitely start the season off with us mourning the loss of Detective Whelan,” Truitt says. “That was really, really hard for our characters. It was also really hard for us, as actors, too, because we loved Brent very much. And so it was sad to see him go last season and sad to start this season without him. And I think, of course, in the world of our show, our characters are grieving his death and him not being a part of the team. So I think [the writers] really wanted to start the season off that way.”

For Bell, however, the loss has a different level of depth: Not only has she lost colleagues in the past, but this is another person under her command who has been killed on the job. As a result, she’s gotten proactive, bringing in Dr. Vargas (Tate Ellington), an AI expert whose work could shift the way police work is conducted. 

“I think as a leader, [those losses have] caused her to want to fix it,” Truitt says. “Like, why does this keep happening? What can I do to fix this so that this doesn’t happen again? And I think that’s why she brings in the AI specialist…to try something new. To try a way of policing that might make things foolproof for us. And I think that is how she’s coping with the situation. At the end of the day, nothing is foolproof; even the AI technology is not foolproof. But I think it feels like she’s doing something to make a change; doing something that will keep her from having to experience that hurt again and keep her team from having to experience that hurt again. So I think professionally and emotionally that’s what she’s doing to cope.”

“I know in real life, she’s in therapy,” she continues. “I mean, she has to be. She’s lost so many people, she’s going through a divorce. As somebody who went through a divorce in my personal life, it is like a death…it’s one of the hardest things that people will ever have to navigate in their lives. So she’s in therapy. And I think she’s trying to work through things the best that she possibly can.” 

“And because of that, she’s able to have conversations with Stabler and Jet and Reyes and to let them know like, ‘Hey, I know you’re hurt. I know you’re dealing with stuff. We’re gonna get through this. But you’ve got to make better choices,’” she finishes with a laugh. “‘You can’t just do whatever—let’s reel it in.’ I think that’s a big part of how she’s coping, too: just keeping the team together; lifting up the other people in the team. I think that that helps her cope as well.”

As Bell juggles her own grief, work politics will keep her busy early in season 4. “Bell’s world is gonna be revolving a lot around leading the team,” Truitt previews. “And, also, defending herself with the higher-ups—that’s always something she’s kind of had to battle, so she’ll be doing that.”

With the drug case, Bell is “dealing with a lot of bureaucracy in the department, just dealing with the DEA,” Truitt says. “[And] there is…a captain in [the] Hate Crimes Division, [Captain Nazanin Shah, AKA Naz, played by Nicole Shalhoub,] that she’s gonna have to [work with]—they’re like frenemies.” 

“They came up in the academy together and they do not get along,” she continues with a laugh. “So you’re gonna see her have to navigate working with her.”

Bell, unfortunately, is used to difficult work situations—previous seasons saw her having to reluctantly deal with her former boss Sgt. Bill Brewster (Guillermo Diaz), as well as Deputy Inspectors Lillian Goldfarb (Janel Moloney) and Thurman (James Roch)—which means she’s prepped to put her game face on when she and Naz reunite early in the season. ”The good thing about Bell is, regardless of how…someone might feel about her, Bell is about the work,” Truitt says. “So she’s like, ‘We have to work together. So let’s get it done. Like, we don’t have to be best friends, but we do have to get this job done.’ So she’s really great at navigating that kind of stuff.” 

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME, Season Premiere, Thursday, January 18, NBC


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