Law & Order: Organized Crime is ramping up the action for Season 2.
In a new interview, executive producer/showrunner Ilene Chaiken discussed Stabler’s dangerous undercover assignment, some potential crossovers and the possibility of a Stabler/Benson romance.
Law & Order: Organized Crime expands in Season 2
Given it debuted in April of 2021 for a short eight-episode season, Law & Order: Organized Crime didn’t get much time to expand in its first season.
Season 1 was dominated by Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), returning to New York when his wife, Kathy, was mortally wounded in a bombing. Stabler joined the Organized Crime Bureau to target the man he thought responsible, corrupt pharmaceutical CEO Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott).
The season ended with Wheatley behind bars while Stabler was trying to save the man’s ex-wife, Angela (Tamara Taylor).
Promos show that with Wheatley gone, a turf war has broken out for control of the New York drug trade. The dangerous Kosta Organization is moving in, and Stabler will be going undercover to find out what they’re up to.
Chaiken discussed the storyline with TV Guide and how it has Stabler as “pretty much a lone wolf. He is “The Man with No Name “…but he does stay tightly connected to his sergeant, and his unit, and the task force. Our story will take on some new folks — and that’s actually story for us, what happens inside the task force.”
Chaiken touched on how Dick Wolf planned Season 2 to be split into three eight-episode arcs, each dealing with a different crime for Stabler’s team to investigate.
“We’re sticking with it. I’d like to think that it will be the pattern of the show, that if we do 22 episodes a year or for any number of years, we’ll always tell three stories. They may not break out in the exact same number, but you can look at these three stories in their seven or eight episode story pods as self-contained stories. So it’s just like doing a single episode, except that we do it in eight episodes.”
“Organized crime seems to be largely, ethnically, and geographically defined clans, syndicates, whatever they are. They each have an identity. So, to Dick’s point, each of our pods will be about a different group of criminals. In some cases, it’ll be more easily identifiable as the mafia, or cartels, or something else. In [other] cases, it will still be trans-global organized crime, but it might have a bit more of a unique and modern nuance.”
The producer praised the guest stars, including Guillermo Diaz as a cop who clashes with the team; Vinnie Jones as a brutal mobster; Dash Mihok as a junior gangster Stabler befriends undercover; and Lolita Davidovich as Jones’ wife.
Chaiken singled out the latter by saying, “that’s possibly my favorite relationship of this story and a fabulous turn by Lolita. It’s juicy and unlike anything we’ve done before.”
Chaiken on the possibility of a Benson/Stabler romance
Chaiken did address one of the key questions for fans, meaning if there’s a chance Stabler finally gets together with ex-partner Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay).
Season 1 had Benson helping Stabler through his grief over Kathy’s death and clearly more than just friendship between them. The promos for both shows have Stabler aiding Benson when she’s injured in a car accident as she checks in on him in return.
Chaiken states that while she’s aware of the fan hopes of a romance, it will not be the sole focus of this new season.
“We are, of course, dealing with the Stabler-Benson relationship, tension, history in a very kind of attentive way from the beginning. We’re trying to deal with it honestly and in an adult way. We don’t want it to just be a tease… We’d like to think that our show is beyond the ‘Will they or won’t they?’ ruse that’s so familiar in television, even though ‘will they or won’t they?’ is always going to be an issue.”
“They’re two adults, and they’re two fairly articulate, adults. Each of them has issues, but they do know how to communicate, and they’re going to communicate. They will get to it. Of course, life gets in the way…Stabler is undercover when we come back in Season 2 and being undercover makes it hard to get together and talk about your feelings.”
Chaiken also stated there are no definite plans for a crossover between Law & Order: Organized Crime and the One Chicago shows “although nothing is off the table.”
With days to go before the Season 2 premiere, Chaiken illustrates the drama of Law & Order: Organized Crime will be even more intense.
Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 premieres Thursday September 23 at 10/9c on NBC.