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


February 2, 2024 by  


LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “End Of Innocence” Episode 403 — Pictured: (l-r) Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler, Rick Gonzalez as Det. Bobby Reyes — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Let’s talk about Thursday night’s TV!

LAW & ORDER: Well, this was a very SVU-y episode. Maybe they should have brought in Carisi! (Sigh. One day he’ll get that crossover.)

The Riley backstory was interesting and allowed us to also learn more about Dixon. Again, not advocating punching someone for being a jerk—and Dixon was clear she was not, either—but I’m glad Riley’s issue was just that versus him crossing a major line during a case, etc. And it’s certainly going to make the dynamic between Riley and Dixon extra loaded and interesting to watch going forward.

I don’t love that Nolan used the incident against Riley to try and win the case, but at least Riley understood where he was coming from, I guess.

(Also, my god, that broken neck was messed. up.)

PRESS YOUR LUCK: It’s always a bummer when someone whammies out at the end, but at least the contestant got over $67,000 in cash and prizes in the first part of the game.

NEXT LEVEL CHEF: Okay, that bloody dish looked so, so, so gross. I’m glad the flavors tasted good, but my God. I think I was, strangely enough, more impressed by the social media chefs in the audition round, but we’ll see how things shake out when push comes to shove.

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT: Back in 2001, SVU did an episode called “Ridicule,” where a male stripper was gang raped after a bachelorette party. The squad at the time was split, with some of the members having a hard time grappling with how a male could be victimized that way.

Since then, as both society and the cops (and their mindsets) evolved, the series has done a number of episodes with male victims, frequently showcasing a lot of empathy and care. This…was not that.

The show did a very good job at showcasing that Tess, who was threatened into the sexual activity, was also a victim, but so frequently the detectives—experienced SVU detectives!!!!!—minimized what Ray went through. Rather than show compassion and sympathy—especially given the fact Ray very likely might not have a clear memory of what was done to him and their questions could have prompted any number of flashbacks—they made barbed comments, quips, and generally acted like he was a suspect. There was room to have kindness and protect both people who were victimized here; I don’t get why they didn’t take that approach.

And it’s absolutely baffling it was Fin and Bruno doing the bulk of it—though certainly Olivia’s assertion that Tess couldn’t have raped anyone because of how small she was made zero sense—because these men are, again, experienced SVU detectives. This was not a vet and, say, Officer Gomez, where a young cop needed to be taught the right approach to a less frequent crime. (And given the Fin/Bruno combo has traditionally been great, including in last year’s “Dutch Tears,” that makes it extra frustrating and disappointing.)

As for the other storyline of the night: I absolutely get there may have been restrictions for how/when they could use Mariska Hargitay, but…oh boy.

I was hoping this would change this week, but, much like last week, the longer-arcing case still is not working for me. Again, I appreciate the ambition! I actually think it’s an extremely smart thing to play with format in a short season. But this particular case, and the way they’re handling it, is dragging everything around it down.

First of all, it’s insane Olivia answered Maddie’s mother’s phone call in the middle of talking to someone who was definitely involved in a case, was emotional, and potentially a victim. That’s in no way okay. And then Olivia took a personal day* (?!?) to go help Maddie’s mom? Shouldn’t that still be on the job?!

And it’s now, again, weeks later. It’s one thing to be tracking a perp where there isn’t enough evidence. This is a kid who is just being victimized while everything is going down. (My hope at this point is she is found by midseason, at the latest, and the rest of the season is spent checking in on her recovery process.)

Because at this point…Olivia is also unraveling. We’ve seen it with her chasing the van, wanting to pull all-nighters, pushing aside her current case. (And there is zero doubt the case would have been better handled if she was there.) We’ve seen it in the flashbacks. We know Olivia Benson gets extraordinarily involved in cases; we’ve seen it since the show’s literal first episode. But there is a very delicate line between caring and being invested/good at your job compared to destroying yourself. She’s dangerously close to the latter, at this point.

I feel like I have to repeat this, constantly, but I get this is a procedural. I understand we’re only going to get snippets of these characters’ lives, because the episodes fundamentally have to support the cases they’re investigating. But that’s also why it feels like every personal moment we get holds that much more weight and why I’m leaning toward being disappointed by how the show handled the final moments.

To be clear, Olivia Benson desperately needs to be in therapy. Any step she takes to heal herself is A+ in my book. But this is very different therapy than she’s done in the past…and Olivia was previously extremely good at evading important issues in therapy, not following the guidance laid out, and, per her own account, lying to her therapist. So what changed? Is this her first session? Did the toll of 2023—in the first five months, she was brutally attacked in front of her home and then she was shot for the first time ever on the job; who knows what happened in the months we didn’t see—make her realize she needed more extensive treatment? Is this because she’s realized the toll the Maddie case was taking on her? (Or an attempt to see if this helps her…solve it?) Was she told by her former (?) therapist this was the only way forward?

Again, I’m actually thrilled if she’s doing this to take care of herself. I’ll be thrilled if she does put any real effort into healing, because the world has not stopped beating up Olivia. But right now she seems to still be in denial about her own overinvestment in her work. An extra 5-10 seconds of context—which could easily have come from cutting the Maddie flashback; trust Hargitay to sell the trauma from the case and her memories while looking at that board, because she can—could have made this feel like something she’s actively trying to do to help dig into her issues rather than a band-aid for a bigger problem.

(And, please, TPTB, if you’re going to do a subplot about a suicide attempt and have your lead character cut the still hanging belt from the closet, please, please, please at least do some sort of warning pre-air or have some sort of crisis helpline PSA at the end of the episode.)

*Outside of noting the one time a card said January 31, I didn’t look that closely at the time. But I assume given the scope of the episode and the reaction to her returning that Olivia took more than a personal DAY? Again, what are we doing here?

A few other odds and ends:

  • Again, I get there are logistical reasons why you might need to lean harder on a guest star than normal, but I was really hoping we had left the extremely long openings in season 24. Easily half of that felt unnecessary.
  • Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, so was Olivia wearing evidence this entire time?!
  • I’m really curious about what you guys think at this point re: Olivia and Elliot’s voicemail. Is she ignoring it? Did she call/text back? This wasn’t a random, hi, I miss you, thinking about you…this man had been undercover for eight months. Sigh.

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: Delighted we’re now at our third solid OC episode in a row. The case was good and the personal scenes were great.

It did not take long for Jet and Reyes’ mess to blow up—thankfully not literally; around these guys, we need to be very clear on that—and I loved Bell and Elliot’s differing approaches to talking to their colleagues.

For Bell and Jet, Bell’s her boss. Bell didn’t dig into the obvious WTFness of this—because Reyes is still married with kids, presumably—but just acknowledged she knows, she’s seen the change, but it becomes her problem when it impacts work. (SVU fans, did you also get a bit of an echo to Elliot’s speech to Olivia re: Cassidy in season 1 with Bell telling Jet that “these things happen,” or am I the only person who needs to stop watching USA Network reruns?)

“And you would know all about that…right?” Reyes, I love you, but it’s a miracle you survived that encounter with Elliot after calling him out on being a hypocrite about dragging others into your grief spiral. (And, um, he’s not wrong. But that took chutzpah.) The thing about Reyes is he’s been around. As we were told in season 3 during his introduction, he’s great at UC and blending in. How much did he hear/know even from Elliot’s first years back in New York, when Olivia was much more frequently by Elliot’s side when things were in chaos? (Heck, even look at her involvement in the Wheatley mess.) How much did he hear about their original partnership?

The thing is, for as much as Whelan was a mini-Elliot last season, Reyes really fills those shoes, too. He has the wife and family he’s trying to balance, just like Elliot did during his SVU era. He throws himself into his work in a way that’s maybe not the best to nurture that relationship. And, yes, the relationship between Jet/Reyes is different than Elliot/Olivia, but there is a similarity in being able to really lean on someone who sees the things you see every day and is in the same broken headspace.

But I’m glad Reyes and Jet are starting over as friends. It makes sense they fell into each other, just like it makes sense they might be able to untangle after. The most important thing is they can be a part of a functioning team again.

Speaking of teams: I cannot get over how happy I am to see more of Team Stabler. We got the names of Elliot’s sisters!! We got to meet Joe Jr. We got a Randall, Elliot, and Bernie scene!

I’m honestly so fascinated by Joe Jr. being the youngest kid, because prior to this season my headcanon was that Elliot was his parents’ Eli; I thought he would have older siblings, but maybe he grew up semi-alone since there was such an age difference with many of them. (We knew his sister took him to a school dance, but that was really the only guidance we got during his SVU years.) But Joe Jr. being the youngest is intriguing, because how much of his childhood was Elliot around for? (Elliot is probably at least 15 years older than his youngest brother, I’d guess?) What did it do to Elliot to leave that kid alone with their parents? It’s not like Elliot could stay and protect him—not with Kathy pregnant and them needing to get married/start their own family—but what kind of guilt is he carrying? How did it shape that relationship compared to the dynamic Elliot and Randall have?

(Also, again, the Stabler family and their naming habits: Joe Jr. as the final son? Kathleen as the second daughter and Eli as the final son? I’m so curious if this is a Thing or just a weird quirk.)

That final scene was gorgeous and bittersweet. This family has spent so much time estranged/out of each other’s orbit, but we know what family means to Elliot Stabler. Getting to be with his brothers again, getting to be absolutely ridiculous and childish as they were roughhousing…the microexpressions on Christopher Meloni’s face, man. (I know I say this every week. It’s not my fault he’s so great at this.) 

I will stay in denial about the Bernie of it all until the very last second—I’m embracing my inner Elliot there, clearly—but I did like that Randall was actually acting like the big brother, trying to get the family together for a big dinner before Bernie moves to her new home…while also reiterating the end is coming. It’s not comfortable, it’s deeply miserable to think about, but at least starting to emotionally prepare is better than being blindsided. (I will return my head to the sand now, thanks.)

A few more thoughts:

  • Randall knows Eli but can’t keep the girls straight?!
  • I’m not suggesting Elliot walk into a bodega at this point, but after the many scrapes he got into in this episode and still came out unscathed…maybe it’s time for a lottery ticket?
  • I have a hundred questions about Bell and her frenemy.
  • LOVE seeing Bell as a caring boss and encouraging Reyes to go to therapy.
  • Elliot, buddy, I know you’re probably waiting on a call from your partner, but you cannot be mad when a family member has been in town and not reached out. Especially when you were undercover.
  • (Joe Jr., Elliot’s a hypocrite, but Bernie deserves better than you ignoring her for months. It also makes me worried about what you’re up to that you were so close and didn’t tell anyone local.)
  • Can we keep Sam?!

Which shows did you watch last night?

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Filed under About Last Night



  1. Kris B on February 2nd, 2024 3:58 pm

    I’m completely frustrated at the complete lack of follow-up regarding the voice-mail Elliot left for Olivia. What was the point of the voice-mail if your not going to follow up on it. Like you said it wasn’t just some random message. I fooled my self after episode 1 thinking SVU was actually going to have some continuity. I’m just frustrated as a whole with the lack of progress for EO. Also I think that when Olivia took off the bracelet and put it the jewelry box she was acknowledging how out of control she had become with this case

  2. Tiffany on February 2nd, 2024 5:55 pm

    I’m pretty confident Liv’s ignoring the VM. Based on history, how could we even hope for any other explanation.

    The “Maddie” bracelet was a replica Liv took from one of the dolls they discovered during the investigation.