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Law & Order Organized Crime: Season 2 Recap + What's Next for Season 3

11 Aug 2022

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OC squad, we’re only 6 weeks away from Season 3! It’ll be here faster than you know it and the cast and crew have been hard at work getting the new season ready. Let’s check where we last saw our squad in season 2, and what to expect in season 3.

Last season, we saw Detective Elliot Stabler go undercover in an Albanian gang, have multiple run-ins with Richard Wheatley, tussle with a hitwoman, get shot by the Brotherhood – luckily, Elliot was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time – and he later witnessed Frank Donnelly commit suicide by train. Elliot also found out his father is not who he thought he was – Joe Stabler’s old partner set up an innocent man to take the fall for a shooting, and Joe received a combat cross medal for it. This brought up a lot of complicated feelings for Elliot, who then received his own combat cross for his work on the Marcy Killers and Brotherhood investigations. He didn’t want the medal, but Sergeant Bell reminded him he had no choice in the matter. One thing is for sure in season 3: Elliot should be in mandatory therapy. If he goes undercover yet again, he will lose himself in another persona and his mental health will suffer further. These assignments have allowed him to shove his pain and trauma down and pretend to be someone else, but I think the time has come where he’s finally going to have to deal with it instead of running from it. Surely, most of the criminal organizations in New York know his face by now too… but time will tell.

Another part of Elliot’s life is his relationship with his former partner, Captain Olivia Benson. There is a lot about Benson’s life he still isn’t aware of – and the time is coming where the two will need to have some honest conversations about the definition of their relationship and what has happened in the time Elliot has been gone. The two have taken small steps in season 2, with Elliot inviting Olivia and her son Noah to spend Christmas with his family, and Olivia also helped Elliot when his son Eli disappeared and was framed for murder in season 2, episode 9. Since losing Kathy, Elliot has felt somewhat lost. He naturally feels drawn back to Olivia and the easy comfort of their old partnership, and it’s obvious he has a lot of classic Catholic guilt. With so much unsaid between them, Olivia’s guard is still very much up… as it should be. She’s going through a lot in her own life, too. One thing I did find strange was that Benson was not invited to Stabler’s combat cross ceremony at the end of season 2, especially as Olivia asked Elliot about his “search for the truth” aka his father’s combat cross in season 2, episode 20. While the characters are on different shows, this was a major thing for Elliot and it seems odd that his former partner wasn’t there for ceremony. His former Captain (Donald Cragen) was, along with the rest of Elliot’s family and squad. Perhaps filming schedules didn’t quite match up at the time, as SVU star Mariska Hargitay was needed over at Law & Order.

New SVU showrunner David Graziano has commented via Instagram that he has a crossover in the works with new Organized Crime showrunner Bryan Goluboff, so hopefully we see Benson and Stabler have some important conversations in season 3. Welcome Mr. Goluboff, the 4th Organized Crime showrunner in 3 seasons. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Most of Stabler’s five children are grown now, with only teenage Eli at home along with Elliot’s mother, Bernadette. Bernie is one of the best parts of Organized Crime, and Ellen Burstyn is an absolute gem. Bernie came to live with Elliot and Eli in the beginning of season 2, as she struggled to manage her bipolar disorder on her own. Later in episode 14, Bernie was kidnapped by associates of Richard Wheatley along with Miles, a man Bernie thought she was dating – though it was revealed Miles was also working for Wheatley. Thankfully, Bernie returned shaken but unharmed. The sweet moments between Bernie and Elliot were a highlight of season 2, when they talked about Elliot’s father and went through old photos. Eli and Kathleen in particular try to care for Bernie the best they can… when Eli isn’t stealing Bernie’s pills. It’s unclear where the Stablers are currently living as their apartment walls were smashed to bits in season 2, episode 21 when Elliot had a fight with Natalie Dumont aka Belladonna, the hitwoman sent after him by Cassandra Webb. Maybe the walls will be all patched up in time for season 3, or will it be a third home in 3 seasons for the Stabler family?

Sergeant Ayanna Bell leads a taskforce within the Organized Crime Control Bureau and is Elliot’s current partner in crime. Season 2 was rough for Bell, having to deal with personal issues while closing the Wheatley, Albanian gang and Kilbride/Marcy Killer cases. Bell has no time for idiots, and I love that she does her best to keep Elliot in line when he sometimes gets tunnel vision on a case. Ayanna has also helped Elliot with his personal problems – Elliot ended up spending the night on her couch after the Albanians drugged him, and she is always there for Elliot when he needs someone to confide in. A moment of happiness for Bell last season was her wife Denise giving birth to their son, Jack. But Bell’s personal and professional lives became blurred when the couple spent a lot of time with Congressman Leon Kilbride. Kilbride took a special interest in the case of Bell’s nephew-in-law Damon, who was assaulted by the NYPD. He wanted to get Ayanna on his side, hoping to use her for his own personal agenda. Denise was impressed by Kilbride, and took a job with his law office against Ayanna’s wishes. The season then ends on a sad note for Bell: After she arrests Kilbride for bribery, money laundering, and racketeering she returns home to find a note from Denise informing her she is leaving and taking their son with her. I hope Ayanna and Denise reconcile in season 3, as I was looking forward to seeing them raise Jack together.

Detective Jet Slootmaekers stepped up in season 2, working a case undercover herself in SVU season 23, episode 5 and using her tech abilities to track down and recruit fellow hacker Adam ‘Malachi’ Mintock in OC season 2, episode 3. Jet tends to take some time to warm up to people, but Malachi impressed Jet when he found a way to obtain intel from every criminal group in the city. She slowly, begrudgingly let him into her life, and vice versa. Jet learns Malachi helps women who are trying to escape domestic violence – could he be working with former ADA Alex Cabot, perhaps? Given the Organized Crime taskforce works with trafficking cases, it only makes sense that someday Elliot could cross paths with his old friend. Jet and Malachi also did a lot of great work together during the power plant arc when they teamed up with fellow hacker Sebastian McClane. Later, Jet was forced to shoot a man to defend Bell in season 2, episode 19, and Malachi was the one who noticed Jet was upset and showed up to her apartment to comfort her. At first, I was surprised when Jet showed interest in Malachi romantically, though I do hope we get to know more about Jet and her life outside the NYPD in season 3.

Detectives Victoria Cho and Carlos Maldonado are often seen in the background or assisting Bell, Stabler and Slootmaekers with arrests and missions. The pair joined the OC taskforce permanently in season 2 and I’d like to see the two have more scenes and missions of their own in season 3. Viewers need to get to know them better, so they really feel like a part of the squad. Carmen ‘Nova’ Riley was a great addition to the Organized Crime crew and I was sad to see her hand in her badge and decide to leave New York with her brother Derrick in the season 2 finale, though she likely did so to protect both herself and Derrick from Cassandra Webb, the Marcy Killers and the rest of Preston Webb’s associates. She was an excellent undercover operative and Detective as well as a great ally and friend for Bell. It's been confirmed Nona Parker Johnson will no longer be a series regular in season 3, which is a shame. I’ll miss her.

Rounding out the squad are two new additions, actors Rick Gonzalez and Brent Antonello. The names of their characters are not yet confirmed, but we know they’ll be playing NYPD Detectives assigned to the Organized Crime taskforce. We haven’t even gotten to know Cho and Maldonado yet, so this seems odd to me to bring on two more new Detectives. Maybe all is not as it seems with these two…

I hope we haven’t seen the last of Cassandra Webb (played by scene-stealer Jennifer Beals) who was last seen narrowly avoiding a murder charge for her husband Preston (as it was most likely Nova or Derrick who killed him) but was still facing a stack of other charges. With her husband gone, she will likely be the head of his empire – even if she has to run it from prison.

Members of The Brotherhood were arrested and charged for their crimes, but they most likely still have a lot of friends and allies both in and out of the NYPD which may come back to make trouble for Stabler in Season 3. Not to mention Frank Donnelly’s infant son, with the middle name ‘Elliot’ and now without a father. I can definitely see Stabler providing for the child in some way, as he will feel immense guilt over Frank’s suicide. Though Elliot was investigating Donnelly and the Brotherhood, he enjoyed the sense of friendship and comradery that came with it. The Wheatley arc appears to be closed for now, with Angela Wheatley dead and Richard Wheatley (supposedly) dead – after all, they never found his body. But with Dylan McDermott now on Wolf Entertainment sister show FBI: Most Wanted, I can’t see him making a surprise return in season 3. With most of the Albanian crew in jail, I don’t see them being an imminent threat either... so who will the season 3 “big bad” be?

Law & Order: Organized Crime returns September 22nd on NBC.