Elliot Stabler is about to take on his most dangerous cover identity yet, himself.
After finally seeing the end of Richard Wheatley, Stabler’s supposed harsh reaction was actually a way to infiltrate a crew tied to Preston Webb.
Thus, Takeover kicks off a new story arc of Law & Order: Organized Crime that may be it’s most daring yet.
Stabler loses it on purpose
Stabler took a jog through a park and met Frank Donnelly (Denis Leary), who brought up Stabler having just been suspended, surrendering his weapons amid an investigation into his actions against Wheatley.
Stabler said it wouldn’t last long, but Donnelly played a tape he’d gotten of a podcast where Bell said Stabler was not indispensable. Donnelly told Stabler, “personally, I’d go to war.”
Stabler stormed into One Police Plaza to confront Bell right in the lobby, the pair yelling at each other as other cops watched. Benson happened to be passing by and told them both to cool it. When Stabler pressed Benson to talk to McGrath, she berated him on how bad he looked.
After the credits (which now included Nona Parker Johnson), Stabler did shots with Donnelly and other cops at a bar. They said they had Stabler’s back, with Donnelly suggesting Stabler hang with them.
Benson showed up at the station to meet Bell and Stabler, as it turned out the whole thing was a performance for the NYPD rumor mill. The point was to make Stabler look like a rogue cop to be recruited by Donnelly, who was on the take from the Marcy Killers.
Stabler admitted his father would have hated him going after cops, even dirty ones, with Benson saying it was a different time. Benson assured him he was doing the right thing as Stabler invited her and Noah to lunch. Benson then noted that Stabler was undercover as “Elliot Stabler.”
Webb and Kilbride talked to a school where Webb donated a batch of new computers. Kilbride gushed about Webb also funding a new computer lab which was another construction scam.
As they left, Nova got a call from Hugo about a problem at a warehouse. There, Webb found an underling named Chopper planned to steal from Webb to set up his own operation. Webb pointed out that Chopper’s connections were actually his own and said, “I’ve outmaneuvered, outplayed, and outlasted all my rivals.”
Bell told the team about the connection between Webb and Kilbride, using their supposedly legit covers for their criminal enterprises. Nova talked about the construction scam while Maldonado brought up how tough it would be to take down a “hometown hero.”
Kilbride was at an art gallery with Webb’s wife, Cassandra (Jennifer Beals). Webb brushed off any possible insurgency, and some “restructuring” would keep the rest in line.
Nova and her brother Derrick (Jordane Christie) were at their parents’ graves, with Nova promising her brother to be there for an upcoming church event.
Stabler gets in with some dirty cops
With Donnelly over to watch some basketball, Stabler got a phone call supposedly about his kids’ school tuition. He ignored another call, making it seem like he needed money as Donnelly invited him to his place. On the other end, Jet smirked at her good job.
Nova attended mass, where Derrick was a pastor. She was thrown when Webb and Cassandra arrived, and the pair was surprised to learn Carmen was Derrick’s sister.
At his place, Donnelly sympathized with Stabler as he was about to have his sixth kid and had a lot of bills to pay. He showed off his classic car, complaining about how one wrong move caught on a cell phone could ruin a cop’s career. Donnelly got a call he tried to brush off but agreed to meet.
They arrived at a house with Donnelly heading inside where a cop had found a couple of dead bodies from a drug deal gone bad. They began looting the place when Stabler showed up, offering to help. When Donnelly asked if he’d be cool with a wad of cash, Stabler responded, “I’ll be cooler with two.”
Bell noted it was a perfect crime, stealing money never put into evidence. Webb heard of the deal and suspected it was the police involved. He was more bugged by the “disrespect” than the money and “somebody’s got to pay.”
Stabler tried to bring up that Donnelly had been a good cop only to learn from Jet the man was cheating on his pregnant wife. Going over photos, they realized Donnelly’s cop friends all had matching tattoos meaning “a code of silence” and were all working for Webb.
A new power rises
Webb called a meeting of his “board of directors” to talk about how the fall of the Kostas and the Wheatleys allowed them to take over. He saw them stronger thanks to their business motif but that some factions were working for themselves.
Webb thus consolidated things, with Nova promoted to his second-in-command. When Chopper refused to answer to a woman, Webb stabbed his hand to the table with a knife while intoning, “that’s your second strike.”
Bell was worried about Nova going deeper, with Nova telling her about Derrick. Her brother had no idea Carmen was really a cop. Nova planned to tell him after the job was done but wanted someone to know in case. Bell reluctantly let Nova continue her work.
Webb met Cassandra at a hospital, and when she noticed the blood from Chopper, she made it clear she was not only aware of her husband’s work, but she’d take care of Chopper herself. It turned out the pair were there for the birth of their grandson, but a phone call ruined the good mood.
Stabler took part in an “escort service” where Donnelly’s crew drove dealer Big Smoke (Melvin Lee Douglas) into the city for a hefty fee. They dropped him off only for Webb to show up, wanting to know who was behind the stash house attack.
Donnelly denied responsibility as Webb brought up a “brotherhood” and warned, “blood will have blood.” Donnelly revealed to Stabler that the brotherhood was a pack of cops who still defended the law but was open to taking bribes and robbing along the way.
Getting deeper into the ranks
At the art gallery opening, Bell and her wife met Nova while Cassandra promoted Kilbride as an honest man helping the community while Bell had to bite her tongue. Webb then began pushing folks to donate to Kilbride.
Donnelly met with his friends, yelling at the patrolman for stealing from Webb. He asked Stabler’s opinion, Elliot saying the best move was to just enjoy the cash.
As Webb and Kilbride performed as civic leaders, Webb learned from his allies who robbed the place. He told them to strike back and “let them know it’s us.”
Webb and Cassandra danced while Donnelly and Stabler picked up Smoke. Hugo and an ally showed up to rob them, Stabler trying to cool things down. Stabler grabbed the gun, which ended with Hugo shot and both sides taking off.
Donnelly and Stabler laughed about this after getting to safety, with Donnelly accepting Stabler into his ranks. One trip to the tattoo parlor, and Stabler was now a member of the brotherhood.
Once more, Stabler is getting in deep on an undercover job, but this one may end up being more dangerous than ever.
Law & Order: Organized Crime airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.