It’s not good when your pedestal has clay feet.
After learning last episode that his father may not have been the hero he thought he was, Stabler had to face bending the rules more with some corrupt cops.
Meanwhile, Nova made a bold choice of her own as Can’t Knock the Hustle kept things firing up on Law & Order: Organized Crime.
Two different family dinners are held
At headquarters, the team met their new ADA Keller Shapiro (Jordan Bridges), who was wary of the evidence of the Brotherhood and openly asked why they were bothering with them and not the Marcy Killers. He left after a tense meeting.
Stabler and Bell knew Donnelly would be too wary of wearing a wire as he knew every trick cops would use. That left the only option to flip someone. Jet showed up on her solar-powered bike as Stabler asked her to look into the case where his dad received the Combat Cross.
Chopper and a friend were putting drugs to sell in a car as Chopper talked of Webb getting soft and “Marcy Killers are done.” Speak of the devil, Webb showed up to kill Chopper’s friend and then tell Chopper he just committed his third strike before pulling the trigger.
Donnelly and Stabler took a ride with Donnelly relating it was a simple “roll and rob” of a local dealer. They were interrupted by a call about a disturbance at the home of the Oswalds, a couple Donnelly had clashed with before.
They arrived to find the wife with a bloody face, Stabler breaking in to arrest the husband. He was struck by Donnelly genuinely caring for the wife’s well-being and thinking arresting a scumbag was “better” than making some cash.
Stabler was looking at his father’s commendation as Eli came in. Webb was holding his grandchild, telling him that “I did all this for my family.” Cassandra was happy but told them they had work to do.
Bernadette was making dinner as Eli asked why they never spoke about his grandfather. Stabler wanted to change the subject, but Bernadette seemed open to it.
Derrick led the Webbs in grace as the Stablers had a tenser meal. Bernadette brought up how strict Stabler’s father was while Nova warned Derrick about accepting a donation from the Webbs.
Stabler finally talked to his mother about the Combat Cross, Bernadette claiming not to know much about it. But she did begin babbling about her husband confessing to anything from cheating to being suspended before becoming upset about Stabler as “your father will do worse than he did to that perp.”
Trying to flip a cop
The team targeted Jesse Santos (Sebastian Arroyo) with activity indicating he’d spent a lot of time near a rehab center in Boston. Stabler saw Santos giving an envelope to a guy before meeting him. Santos said he was on a private security job which Stabler realized was scoping out a jeweler to rob and offered to help.
Stabler told Bell and Jet of Santos’ plan to swap the jewels with fakes, which Donnelly would find too risky. Jet told Stabler how the official story backed up Stabler’s dad being a hero. Bell was confused as to why Stabler was looking into this.
Derrick talked to Bell and her wife about baptizing their child, with the conversation turning to Carmen. Then, Denise revealed she’d gotten a job working for Kilbride, with Bell having to bite her tongue on why that was a bad idea.
Donnelly brought Stabler to a cop bar, claiming Stabler’s dad was like any of the time who took money and skirted the rules. Stabler took exception with Donnelly stating “the only people looking out for cops are other cops,” and they deserved “a little taste.”
As the cops talked of a plan to flip Santos, Stabler was struck by Bernadette saying he needed to stop investigating himself as “you’re nothing like your father. You’re a good man.”
As Stabler and Santos got coffee, the rest of the team worked to plant a bug in the van they were using. They managed to do it with Santos relating the plan to Stabler, the bug recording it all.
A heist goes down and a revelation is made
Just as the pair pulled up, ready for the heist, Donnelly jumped into the van, ticked at the pair trying to pull this behind his back. The two recovered to relate the plan, with Donnelly admitting it could work and joining.
It turned out Stabler had told Donnelly about this in the first place, with Donnelly relating Santos’ trips were for his daughter’s leukemia treatment, so he needed the money.
Santos was with the jeweler, Hurley (Pascal Yen-Pfister), drugging him as planned. However, they had trouble getting the case open, with Stabler quickly swapping the jewels with fakes.
Stabler exited to have Donnelly demand the jewels as he had a new fence set up. As Santos and Hurley left, Hurley figured he was being robbed.
Donnelly helped him leave. However, Hurley realized something was up to attack Donnelly, who accidentally shot him in the struggle.
Jet related Hurley never made his flight while Shapiro reviewed their wiretap. Nova found the Webbs handing Derrick a check for the church, tying her brother to the crime family.
Alone in the church, Nova finally confessed to her brother that she was a cop investigating Webb. Derrick was upset Nova was doing the same job that got their father killed before she asked, “who do you think killed him?”
Santos was checking on his daughter just as Bell arrived to arrest him.
Stabler headed to the home of former Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek), who admitted he didn’t know Stabler’s dad well but had heard the rumors of his actions.
Pressed by Stabler, Florek talked of how his dad was a cop in a horrible time for New York and that corruption was common. He pressed that when people said Joe Stabler was a good cop “in his day,” that meant he broke the rules a lot.
However, Cragen believed that Joe giving his son the Cross was his way of saying “do better,” and Stabler had to represent the force. He noted he and Stabler had both done things they weren’t proud of, with Stabler sadly agreeing.
It was a rougher week for Stabler facing up to the truth of his father not being the best cop which can affect his own work.
Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.