Law & Order: Organized Crime is going to look different for Season 2.
Showrunner Ilene Chaiken explains how the second year of the hit spin-off will balance different crime stories but deliver some terrific new drama.
How Law & Order: Organized Crime expands in Season 2
The first season of Law & Order: Organized Crime told one long storyline as Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) worked with the Organized Crime Bureau to track corrupt pharmaceutical CEO/mobster Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott).
It was personal for Stabler as he believed Wheatley was behind the murder of Stabler’s wife, Kathy. The season ended with Wheatley arrested but ordering a hit on his ex-wife Angela (Tamara Taylor) before she could testify against him.
Season 2 opens three months later as Angela survives and Wheatley is trying to cut a deal with the feds to avoid serious jail time. Meanwhile, with Wheatley gone, the Kosta Organization attempts to fill the hole in the New York underworld.
Speaking to Give Me My Remote, showrunner Ilene Chaiken explained how Season 2 will have a different feel, which includes breaking into “pods” of storylines.
“It’s very important to us to signal to the audience, to the fans of the show, that we’re going to tell a new story now. [Executive producer] Dick [Wolf] had promised this [format] of three pods per season, and that really is the concept of the show. You don’t have to have seen season 1 to jump in and see season 2, because we’re starting a whole new story. That’s going to happen—and this is both the beauty and the challenge of the show—basically every eight episodes, roughly. It probably won’t always be the same number, but we are going to reinvent the show again. We will pursue a criminal or a transnational organized crime syndicate, we’ll finish that story, and we’ll begin a story, with a new adversary.”
Stabler’s undercover job and drama
The first of the “pods” has Stabler going undercover as an arsonist named “Ashes” to get close to Kosta enforcer Albi Briscu (Vinnie Jones). However, Chaiken hints this first storyline will tie in with the later story arcs in Season 2.
“The first pod is the Albanians, but there’s a little cross of Wheatley and there’s more of a cross with the congressman, (Leon Kilbride, played by Ron Cephas Jones)—who ties to the story that we’re telling in the third pod. So they’re completely separate and freestanding pods, but we do see them [ahead of time]. If you are a fan of the show, and you stay with us the whole season, it’s just a little bit richer, because you already know a little bit about those criminals.”
Stabler will be getting closer to Briscu, his wife Flutura (Lolita Davidovich), and younger gangster Reggie (Dash Mihok).
“Well, [Stabler] will have relationships with each of them; very different relationships with each of them. The Albanian clan, they’re literally a family, because the Albanians, the clans, usually, are family relationships: uncles, cousins, nephews, sons, and fathers. His primary relationship is with [Reggie], who is his point of contact; the person with whom he ingratiates himself and whose confidence he wins in order to get closer and closer to the seat of power. And the relationship between them, although Reggie is full-on a gangster, is kind of tender, in some way.”
Chaiken emphasizes that Stabler will “have to roll” with the Albanians’ world of violence, affecting his already difficult mood following his wife’s death.
“Because he’s undercover, we are putting his therapy on hold. And when he comes in from the cold, as it were, he’s going to have a lot more to deal with.”
Bell and her own struggles in Season 2
While the focus is on Stabler, Season 2 will also give the show’s supporting cast more time. Sergeant Ayanna Bell (Danielle Moné Truitt) is still suing the NYPD, but she and her wife are also raising a newborn boy.
Bell is quite concerned about Stabler’s undercover job as the last cop she sent undercover, Gina Cappelletti, was murdered by the Wheatleys.
“It’s very much top of mind for her,” Chaiken says. “She’s hyper-vigilant and it’s constant pain. [Bell is] more concerned and more vigilant, but ultimately, she is a cop—and a good cop—and she knows that Stabler is a very able colleague. She’s going to trust him beyond the point where it’s comfortable for her to. She’s ultimately responsible for whether or not she senses that his life has been in danger…and of course she will [know when that happens].”
Complicating matters is that to run the investigation into the Kosta Organization, Bell has to work with her former boss, Sgt. Bill Brewster (Guillermo Diaz).
“He was in charge when she was a detective in narco; it didn’t go well. There’s not a lot of love lost between them. And they are forced into an uneasy partnership because they each have a task force and their operations overlap. They’ll be forced into a joint task force—of which they’re co-commanders. And the implication is only one of you will be left standing at the end of this.”
While mum on more details, Chaiken’s words indicate that Season 2 of Law & Order: Organized Crime will only up the ante in the powerful drama for this dangerous world.
Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 premieres Thursday, September 23 at 10/9c on NBC.