Going undercover has more risks than anyone can expect.
After going deep into the corrupt Brotherhood, Stabler found his loyalties tested. At the same time, Nova found her new promotion had its drawbacks.
That made Guns & Roses a tricky case for both sides as it built up the drama of Law & Order: Organized Crime.
Stabler’s undercover issues
Stabler was in therapy, admitting to how it felt conflicted to be spying on cops, even corrupt ones. He talked of this code pushed by his father and the therapist suggesting Stabler had issues with that.
Across town, Hugo was telling lawyer Bonnie Ellis (Jenelle Simone) not to come downtown as she arrived at a station to pick up Angelica Guzman (Tianna Mendez) on prostitution charges. Bonnie drove Angelica home only for a man to gun them both down and run.
Stabler was headed to a new department as part of his job while Brewster brought up Ellis’ murder. Bell was affected as she knew Ellis. Brewster noted Ellis had gotten the call from Hugo, meaning a connection to the Marcy Killers.
Nova met Hugo at a cafe with him denying the killing but the cops likely to pin it on him. Stabler showed up at his new precinct to a cold reception from the other cops, but one opened up to him.
Ellis’ staff was shocked at her murder, telling Bell and Jet that she knew no connection between Ellis and the Marcy Killers. Captain Patrick Darnell (Mike Pniewski) made it clear he wasn’t happy with Stabler being there and put him on desk duty with a ton of paperwork.
Donnelly dropped in on Stabler to admit he got him transferred here. That gave him the clout to get Stabler out for a bit for a drive. It brought up how he would “roll” criminals for info but stayed away from prostitution as “I got daughters.”
Stabler asked about the Marcy Killers under cover of “making sure I don’t step on the wrong toes” with Donnelly giving him a special gun to use.
Stabler comes under fire
Nova told Bell Hugo didn’t kill Ellis but that coming in was a bad idea, while sharing that Webb also refused to run girls. When she snapped at the Marcy Killers as “these people,” Nova fired back that Bell had been a cop so long, she forgot how some folks struggled to survive any way they could.
Maldonado and Cho met a sex worker named Tina (Carmen Salta), who turned out to be Maldonado’s sister. She was wary, claiming Angelica was “self-employed” with one wealthy client with a scar. Maldonado was worried about her yet knew trying to control her wouldn’t work.
Stabler and Donnelly followed some drug dealers, claiming to be part of an FBI operation to force dealer Stixz (Devin Vega) to give up his supplier. They raided the drug lab, the crew cleared out, but they left a few thousand dollars worth of drugs and guns behind.
A remaining thug got the drop on Stabler with Donnelly taking the bullet. The thug got away as Stabler checked on Donnelly.
It was only a flesh wound with Stabler thanking Donnelly for saving his life. Donnelly was worried this wouldn’t blow over, and they had to get rid of the guns, telling Stabler to use a contact named Van Aller.
Jet found a video of Angelica entering a car before Stabler asked her to check on Van Aller, a seemingly clean cop. Cho then revealed the Ellis murder weapon belonged to Hugo, with Bell issuing a warrant on him.
Darnell was outraged at Stabler’s actions and threatened to have him fired. However, the rest of the cops applauded Stabler for helping Donnelly.
The car owner, Popov, claimed just to give Angelica a ride. He then confessed to providing the car to Van Aller. Stabler was out of touch as he met Van Aller (Alex Hurt), whose facial scars matched those of Angelica’s lover.
A dark fate for a dirty cop
Nova called Bell to give up Hugo with them raiding his home where his aunt lived. They found him hiding in a bed to arrest him. Hugo claimed he and Ellis were working together to try to help the community.
Hugo said his gun had been stolen from him by a cop, which was a setup. He was trying to warn Bonnie the cop knew she was building a case against him because of his relationship with Angelica. He then confirmed the cop was Van Aller.
Van Aller brought Stabler to a meeting with some contacts to sell the guns, appearing pretty nervous. As he headed into a warehouse, Stabler found a ledger in his glove compartment while Bell called him about Hugo’s claims.
Van Aller returned to get a phone call from Darnell on Internal Affairs coming after him. Stabler pressed Van Aller on his obvious worries as he finally confessed to killing Ellis on his own after she found out about the Brotherhood.
Stabler headed into the bar to meet other cops, giving Van Aller a chance to call his kids. He ran back to the car in time to see Van Aller shoot himself.
Stabler believed Donnelly had no idea what Van Aller had been up to, and his suicide pretty much closed the case. Bell was still worried about Stabler going back to the Brotherhood.
Webb heard Hugo complaining the Brotherhood had framed him but was more concerned about his “executives” keeping secrets from him. Hugo was upset Nova told Webb about him as Nova complained to Bell about losing trust with Webb.
Bell pointed out that the “worlds began to blur” in undercover work with Nova apologizing for her words before. She made it clear she cared about Nova and wanted her safe.
At the bar, the cops shared stories about Van Aller while Donnelly returned. Stabler didn’t have to act as being shocked at Van Aller’s death while hiding the man’s confession.
Donnelly noted how Van Aller just lacked the spine to do this job. Then, he brought up a story of Stabler’s dad once shooting a kid and then making it look like it was self-defense to earn a commendation. Having never heard the story before, Stabler hid his shock at the idea that his father was a fraud, not a hero.
Darnell shared that not only could he not fire Stabler, but he was returning his service revolver. He warned Stabler that his “friends are the kind who will have your back…just before they stab you in it.”
While the case was light, it deepens the arc as Stabler learned a harsh lesson about his father while he and Nova had their loyalties tested.
Law & Order: Organized Crime returns with new episodes Thursday, April 7 at 10/9c on NBC.