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


February 9, 2024 by  


LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “The Last Supper” Episode 404 — Pictured: (l-r) Allison Siko as Kathleen Stabler, Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler, Ellen Burstyn as Bernadette Stabler — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Let’s talk about Thursday night’s TV!

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT: On the bright side, easily the strongest episode of the season so far. There were some issues, but it didn’t have the pacing issues I had with the premiere or the, well, other issues I had with episodes 2 and 3.

One of the biggest draws of the hour: I really liked the dynamic between Olivia and Captain Curry. It’s rare we get to see Olivia interact with someone on her professional level—let alone another woman—who seems to be on the same side as her/the unit. With McGrath at least benched/potentially gone-gone, it’ll be interesting to see what changes they make to the squad’s approach and limited number of team members. (Especially, as Curry noted, the lack of women.)

McGrath has frequently been a one-note foil for Olivia, but, as this episode reiterates, it’s never been due to Terry Serpico’s performance. (Heck, we’ve seen him have more depth in the previous characters he played.) Serpico and Amy Carlson were fantastic in this (even when their characters were a little terrifying), and if this is it for McGrath’s time on the show, I’m glad it at least ended with him paying a compliment to Olivia.

With the (important) caveat I do not have personal experience with EMDR: I’m glad we got to see a little bit of Olivia’s therapy session, but it’s a bummer she’s even fighting against it when she’s trying to work through the trauma with Maddie/the job. (Like, is this literally the only reason she’s trying this different form of therapy?) To be clear, it is absolutely believable Olivia would choose to focus on that—and her therapist did call her out on there being more unknowns than work—and it is the most obvious thing throwing her right now, but did she spend the entire session refusing to go along with what the therapist suggested? We’re once again seeing Olivia uncomfortable in therapy (fair!), talking about the most obvious problem in front of her, and not being willing to dig into the larger picture/decades of trauma.

Again, to be one hundred percent clear, I’m thrilled she’s actively in therapy (even if it sounds like she’s preparing to blow off her next session); I assume we won’t see most of her sessions going forward. This just feels like a beat we’ve seen before, on a show where we do rarely get personal moments, and I hope Olivia does try this time. (Maybe with a different therapist.* Again.)

  • *Oh my God, Olivia’s therapist absolutely had a duty to report her suspicions about Shea, but not to Olivia?! This is a seemingly new patient, one who is Going Through Things, and…you’re making it clear you know her boss? (Which by itself feels like a personal violation/bursting the bubble of pretending you have a safe space.) Go through the proper channels and if your worlds collide later, great. Making this Olivia’s problem actively made her life more difficult. This was crossing a major line. Can we please get her a new therapist who actually respects professional boundaries, please?!
  • Happy Birthday, Olivia. Sorry you had to deal with…this.
  • It was a lovely touch of Olivia naming missing kids who impacted her…I’m very curious if there’s a reason behind who was named (and who wasn’t).
  • (My kingdom for this show/franchise to remember Olivia was with the unit before the show started.)
  • Fin and Bruno casually doubting a victim’s story…I don’t understand what the show is doing with this. There is a way for the guys to be worried about Olivia—which is fair; there have been times this season when she has been clearly spiraling and needed a steady person by her side—without immediately doubting the validity of the case. And coming right after their condescending interactions with a male survivor…I truly hope this stops, soon.
  • Olivia calling Elliot a friend (and an “interesting friend”) fascinates me. (In a good way.) Calling him her former work partner likely would have given her therapist more context, but friendship remains a choice. (Fingers crossed she actually reaches out to a friend soon? It’d be nice.)

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME: Danielle Moné Truitt was correct: I think we all need a drink. (Or a dessert. Or a hug. Your choice.)

At its best, and this fourth season certainly counts, ORGANIZED CRIME feels like it’s operating on an entirely different level from other shows in this genre. The hour seems to fly by and every moment feels like it counts. There were easily three points in the episode where the episode could have ended as a shocking cliffhanger and then it just…kept going and breaking our brains a little more. (Maybe we all need naps and/or caffeine, too.)

Because holy [your choice curse here].

I’m obsessed with the Stabler family dinner. On a basic level, it’s incredible to see so many of these people together, many of whom never shared screen time before—and it leads to a dozen other questions about some of those relationships—and also get a real sense of who these people are together.

For so many years, we saw Elliot as a family man. We knew, to some degree (and at different points in time), how his first family shaped him, broke him, and molded him into who he is in modern times. But Elliot as the husband/father is very different than who Elliot is as the son. And that’s very different than who Elliot is as the brother. And all of those things collided at this dinner.

There was the light-hearted ribbing with Randall and Elliot about their younger brother’s back/hair/sucking up to Bernie. There was the more loaded, but still light, debate between Randall and Elliot over who would grill. There was Elliot trying to find out why Joe Jr. was dishonorably discharged (and didn’t tell him). There was Elliot, the giddy grandpa.

The Joe Jr. conversation, in particular, felt so important, because Elliot has spent so much of his life trying to be a better version of his father: He went into law enforcement, but he tried to be a better cop. He didn’t (physically) cheat on his wife. He did what it took to be there for his kids, to protect them. But we also see constantly that he doesn’t believe he’s enough, that he’s a good man. He struggles with praise; he struggles with love and care directed toward him. So when Joe Jr. makes it clear he wanted to be like Elliot, it means something. It means everything.

And, again, Elliot has been quietly healing himself, too. Sometimes it’s easier to give good advice when you’re not directly involved, but the “Us Stablers tend to shut people out when we don’t know how to handle things”…is both extremely accurate to Joe’s current problem and Elliot literally acknowledging some of the patterns that have derailed his own life. (Certainly was a factor in his separation, his exit from SVU, etc.)

Of course, we also see the worst of the family dynamic. Is it fair for Randall to blame Elliot for not realizing Bernie was being abused? Absolutely not. He was a kid. But it also makes sense he resents him for having to shoulder the burden alone; it’s easy to hold on to the wounds of that era. It is absolutely gutting that Randall tried to save both Bernie and Elliot from Joe Sr., and Bernie wasn’t in a place to accept that help. It’s also insane that Randall is the one who turned in Joe Sr. and Bernie threw him out for it.

It’s also wildly childish that Randall stole Elliot’s phone, because, regardless of what Elliot says, it may have led to the mayhem escalating the way it did. Those extra few minutes could have meant the difference in how bad things shook out.

But it’s also extremely believable that the two were mostly fine by the end, focusing more on other things—like the fact neither believes why Joe Jr. was discharged—and a mystery for the audience about Joe Sr. Family, man. It’s messy as hell.

Of course, this isn’t even touching on the case. PROTECT AYANNA BELL AT ALL COSTS. (Teen girls in this franchise refusing to give up their cell phones=never good.) And then Elliot got suspended? Oy vey.

And the other things…

  • Aw, Sam got promoted.
  • Reyes needed a beat, but after Elliot was kicked out…he absolutely should have been brought in. They needed more bodies in that mansion.
  • I’m extremely glad we got a few extra Carisi scenes. I’ll acknowledge I do wish there had been anything personal in there given Elliot’s now worked with Rollins multiple times and Carisi is one of the few people who really sees how Olivia has not been doing well, but the episode was jam-packed, so…
  • I so hope we get to explore Eli’s frustration over Elliot working all the time. This was an issue when Eli was living with him, and then we kind of lost that thread when he was shipped off to school. Elliot was just gone/undercover for eight months. Was he talking with his kids?
  • Relatedly, Eli, buddy, when you want your girlfriend to meet the family…it’s not this. My goodness. Not this kind of dinner. (Sorry, Becky. You seemed nice. I don’t blame you if you’re now scared away from them all.)
  • (Maureen’s kids know Joe Jr.?!)
  • It’s also absolutely bittersweet that this dinner gave us one of the only sweet childhood memories/stories of Elliot that didn’t end in tragedy or trauma.
  • One of my favorite episodes of season 1 was “The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of,” where the writers juxtaposed the insane Richie Wheatley birthday party with Elliot’s intervention. Whether an intentional homage or not, I love how this episode juxtaposed the work operation with the family dinner, as both crept toward the inevitable disaster.
  • It’s also genuinely incredible and appreciated how much of this episode dealt with the personal. Let us see characters we love like this! It cannot be every episode, but this adds so much.
  • Goes without saying, and genuinely feels like an obvious thing, but my God, Christopher Meloni, Dean Norris, Michael Trotter, and Ellen Burstyn were great.
  • Do we think Other Stabler brother has been erased or, uh, is he dead?
  • I would die to know what was said in the five Stabler kids’ group chat after that insane dinner.
  • (If you’ve followed my SVU coverage, you likely know what Kathleen and Bernie being together means to me. May we get as much of that as possible, please.)
  • WTF did Joe Sr. do?!
  • The hour was gorgeously directed by Stephen Surjik.
  • No, seriously, season 4 has been so damn good.

Which shows did you watch last night?

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