It finally came to a head on Law & Order: Organized Crime.
After dancing around for a while, Stabler and Wheatley finally had it out in a conflict that will likely fire up their war.
That was on top of developments from Bell facing political issues to a surprise turn for Bernadette. The episode, As Iago is to Othello, is kicking the season into high gear.
Bernadette’s surprise visitor
The team was checking out the building McClane had escaped from and Stabler was more interested in how the site overlooked a secure facility used for the New York Stock Exchange.
That building was affected by the power failure, with Jet realizing it was meant to knock out the online security and the place had been hacked. All McClane would need was a few minutes in the system to affect trillions of dollars.
At home, Stabler was surprised by a man (James Cromwell) arriving with a rose. He was Miles Darman, a new neighbor who hit it off with Bernadette. Stabler was jarred that Eli knew more about his mother’s possible new beau than Stabler did.
Stabler testified at a meeting about seeing Sebastian and McClane together, although Bell couldn’t see that herself. Stabler made it clear that he believed Wheatley was behind this as a planned attack on the data center.
With the feds focusing on McClane, Bell suggested Cho and Maldonado pose as newlywed neighbors to surveil her. Instead, the pair spotted Wheatley dropping in on Angela, giving her gifts and bragging he’d be rich again in no time.
Stabler was doing his best to remain calm as Angela rebuffed Richard’s advances, with Wheatley hissing that he hated the idea of Angela being with another man, threatening her with a knife. Stabler’s response was to smirk, “we got him right where we want him.”
Playing some mind games
The news reported a huge stock market drive that Wheatley and McClane used to make some short sales and push up prices to instantly make Wheatley a rich man. McClane also made it clear he wasn’t keeping any of this money and “I’m not your friend.”
Miles dropped by again with Stabler ready to grill him like any random perp and even a “warning” not to get fresh with his mom. Stabler asked Cho to sneak into Angela’s apartment to get some of her underwear and brushed off her refusal as a “test” for Cho’s ethics.
Bell went for lunch with her wife only to find Kilbride, Nova, and Garcia waiting instead. Bell swiftly realized this was an ambush as Kilbride and Garcia were concerned over Stabler’s supposed vendetta against Wheatley.
Meeting in private afterward, Bell was concerned Kilbride was onto Nova, who insisted on staying undercover. She also pressed Bell that Stabler may have been an honest cop, but his time undercover with the Kostas “is in his DNA now.”
With the stock market in freefall, they needed to find evidence Wheatley was behind this. Malachi suggested using a unique program to find the specific malware which would be tied to Wheatley’s personal information.
Cho and Maladano saw Wheatley stopping by Angela’s place, checking her computer (which they had doctored), and upset to see messages from Stabler (including some rather racy selfies). Angela returned to talk of a new job offer with Wheatley trying to place nice. Cho was worried these mind games on Wheatley would put Angela in danger.
Wheatley followed Angela to a restaurant where Stabler was waiting for dinner. He toasted “to the truth in all its ugliness and beauty” and that they had to face that neither could trust the other.
He pressed Angela on being careful with whatever game she was playing as she insisted she could handle herself. Richard was unaware of this complex conversation as he simmered with rage outside.
The elevator eruption goes down
Brewster stated he was being pressured to make Stabler see a shrink, which could jeopardize his career.
Richard burst into Angela’s interview with a college to ruin it, mocking her being with Stabler. He dragged her to a hideout, and when McClane tried to help, Wheatley screamed that no one was to touch his wife. He point-blank asked if Angela was having an affair with her denying it and Stabler wanted to protect her.
This was enough for McClane to finally announce he was done, daring Wheatley to kill him. When she heard McClane gave away all the money he’d made off these deals, Angela congratulated him. She then offered to help Richard hide his newfound billions (and more) as long as he let Sebastian go free.
Jet was hitting a block on what number to use when a flash of inspiration hit her, entering a code that shut down the malware. Unfortunately, Stabler’s joy at that was ruined when Jet shared what number Wheatley had used: The date of Kathy’s death.
Wheatley met none other than Miles in a car whose entire romance of Bernadette was all part of Wheatley’s game.
That led to the main event: As Wheatley was getting off an elevator, Stabler headed in, headbutting him to draw blood. When Wheatley snapped, “I’ll have your badge,” Stabler hissed, “I had your wife” and showed a pair of panties.
The pair went at it in a brutal, no-holds-barred brawl smashing each other around the elevator. The “bell” came from Stabler’s phone, informing him they were getting a warrant on Wheatley’s place but not the man himself. A bloodied Wheatley grinned he was inside Stabler’s head as Stabler had to leave him behind.
Bell warned Stabler he was on the edge and he had to stand down. As much as she hated to do this, she had to go with Brewster’s orders to send Stabler to psych.
They were interrupted by McClane calling in to offer Wheatley on a platter as he had left a secret tracker on every deal Wheatley made and proof he’d robbed the Stock Exchange of hundreds of millions of dollars. But McClane couldn’t make it too easy finding him as “I’m having too much fun” handing out wads of cash to random people at a library.
Stabler met Dr. Walter Aboud (Gary Lee Mahmoud) to discuss how his job was to find justice no matter what it took. He silenced his phone to admit his behavior was concerning and it was an obsession.
Stabler added this was a call that chose him and stopping Wheatley was a priority. He stated he just needed two days to prove Wheatley’s guilt and if he couldn’t, he’d hand in his badge and gun.
While the Stabler-Wheatley fight was spectacular, it’s the continuing mind games between the pair that sparked this storyline and a major way to leave off as the show enters a winter break.
Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 returns with new episodes Thursday Feburary 24 at 10/9c on NBC.