Benson and Stabler are together again…at least on the street.
Along the way, Benson realized how Stabler’s conflicted loyalties in his job might be causing problems on Lost One.
The teams unite
The episode picked up right where this week’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit ended. As Bell told Stabler that cop Raymond Moss rented the van under Stabler’s name, Benson entered to report how Sara Santos had gone missing.
Stabler immediately figured someone was trying to get at Santos through his daughter. Worse, the girl had both leukemia and asthma, meaning her life was at risk one way or the other. So she suggested their teams work together for this case.
Benson showed a video of Sara following a dog down the street with a woman luring her into an alley. Jet was affected as the teams went to work tracking anyone from Webb to human traffickers.
Using the search for Sara as an excuse, Bell interrupted a gala at Cassandra’s art gallery. She pressed Cassandra on knowing Sara, with Cassandra outraged at the intrusion.
Sara’s mother, Rosaria, was heartbroken at this as she gave some DNA for them to use. She also accused Stabler and the Brotherhood of “poisoning” her family and slapped him. Stabler just took it as the woman sobbed.
Velasco showed up to help the team, he and Jet found info on Ted Taylor (Noah Plomgren), a suspected rapist who somehow got a job as a janitor at Sara’s school. Rosaria identified him as knowing Sara.
Bell and Jet raided Taylor’s home, finding some girl’s clothing. Taylor tried to run with Jet tackling him down.
Taylor claimed to have nothing to do with Sara and was just “collecting” clothing he found at school. Like old times, Benson and Stabler pressed him in interrogation, Taylor giving up that he saw someone arguing with Jessie at school.
Taylor’s alibi checked out, while another video showed the woman in the abduction wearing a specific type of sneaker Jet recognized.
She went to Adam for info on them, Jet making it clear she was in no mood for his usual banter. It turned out she’d been trying to call him with no answer as he asked her out for dinner.
Sneaking into some answers
Stabler visited Santos in prison, who said the meeting had been about a gambling debt. He claimed to have no idea who could have done this as he wanted his daughter back. He briefly wondered if Donnelly was involved with Stabler unsure.
Stabler assured Donnelly he could “redirect” any suspicions Benson would have about the Brotherhood while investigating the case. Donnelly’s wife entered as they revealed they were giving their son the middle name of “Elliot.”
Stabler was truly honored but could barely hide his guilt as Donnelly talked of how close the two were. Donnelly did blame Santos for making a bad deal while Stabler slipped a tracker onto his car.
Jet and Bell got the runaround from the clerk at a high-end shoe store before Jet used her hacking skills to get their customer database.
Benson and Stabler talked about Donnelly, with Benson realizing Stabler really liked the guy. Stabler then brought up his suspicions of his dad staging a shooting as Benson realized he had problems.
They followed Donnelly to the Santos home, where Rosaria revealed she’d gotten a video to pay $100,000 to get Sara back. She talked Donnelly into giving the cash, which he did.
The shoes had been bought by Stacy Gennaro (MuMu), who had no criminal record. Her mother was shocked to hear of this, relating this was the fault of Stacy’s boyfriend, Ramon, who ran with a gang and had the tattoo of the guy threatening Jessie.
Using her skills with the video, Jet managed to narrow Sara’s location to Queens as they realized Ramon’s gang laundered money through real estate. That gave them an opening to realize Sara was held at an apartment across from a Jewish synagogue.
The rescue is on
Benson and Stabler were first on the scene where, of course, neither could wait for backup to charge in.
They found the owner, Eddie Alvarez (Paco Tolson), who claimed he barely used the place as he worked so often.
Eddie tried to play dumb, but the detectives realized he was hiding a secret space to arrest him. They broke down the wall to find Sara.
Ramon tried to shoot Stabler, who fired back in self-defense to wound him. Benson arrested Stacy when she tried to run. Stabler brought Sara to the paramedics as the rest of the team rolled up.
A grateful Santos embraced Stabler in prison, but Stabler was more interested in Santos covering for gangster Sosa. Santos revealed Donnelly had ripped off the Rebenga Cartel’s heroin which he didn’t know until Ramon confronted him.
Stabler brought up how Donnelly only cared about himself and was going to get the entire Brotherhood killed with his schemes. Santos offered to wear a wire to take care of Donnelly.
Benson dropped Stabler back at his station as they agreed it felt good working together again. Donnelly bantered with Benson about Stabler’s partnerships before he left.
Jet came to see Adam to apologize for her behavior before, leaving him the shoes as a gift. She had to leave because of a text before he could talk to her.
Stabler went to the old apartment complex his family had lived in to find the tree he’d once fired bullets into with his dad’s gun. He carefully dug the rounds out of the tree. He was affected when a resident informed him the entire place was going to be torn down for development.
Cassandra was still irate about the police raid making her look bad and that there was a time Webb would never have let that slide. Webb called Nova to relate, “it’s time.”
Returning to the squad room, Stabler was told that the cash Donnelly gave Rosaria matched the bills Stabler and Donnelly had given Ulrich. That meant Donnelly was the one who robbed Ulrich and Webb and was setting up Stabler to take the fall.
While the crossover was great, the bigger implications for Stabler and the Brotherhood made this a powerful episode as Season 2 winds on.
Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.