By Raymond Nava
The “Law & Order Special Victims Unit” and “Organized Crime” crossover gives longtime fans a reunion that was 10 years in the making. It also gives them a new chapter in Dick Wolf’s Law & Order franchise.
In the SVU episode, “Return of the Prodigal Son,” Christopher Meloni returns as Elliot Stabler for the first time in 10 years since leaving the show. He is reunited with his former partner Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay. The episode is followed by the premiere episode of the new show “Organized Crime,” in which Meloni also stars in.
The SVU episode has Elliot suffering a devastating loss while reuniting with his former colleagues. The reunion isn’t all happy.
Setting aside and with the urgent situation already in the episode, the reunion between Benson and Stabler shows tension between the two characters.
It’s revealed that the two haven’t spoken in ten years following Stabler’s abrupt departure. This makes sense as Benson would still hold some sort of resentment towards him. It’s clear that their relationship will need time to heal and the “Organized Crime” part of the crossover, shows this to be the case as well.
The episode of “Organized Crime” was a good start to the new series. The episode follows up on Stabler’s investigation into who is responsible for his devastating loss.
It also sets up what looks to be a season-long plot line rather than a story of the week format found in previous iterations— though it’s possible this may not be the case.
The series doesn’t use the traditional time and location cards that have been a staple of the franchise, since seasons 6-8 of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
The show’s pacing doesn’t feel like previous shows either. It feels more like “Chicago PD” and the “FBI” franchise, which were also created by Dick Wolf. While this could divert some fans from the franchise, it makes sense. The show’s material, which deals with organized crime, is more intense than other types of crime handled in the other shows in the franchise, and so the same pacing would not suit the previous format.
While the event was overall well-executed, there were a few things that were disappointing. There were also some things in “Organized Crime” that did not really work. Unlike previous shows in the Law & Order franchise, some of the actors for the main criminals in “Organized Crime” are credited as part of the main cast. While this has happened in other shows, it’s very weird for this to be the case in Law & Order. This also seems to further the idea that the series is following an overarching storyline. This helps explain the next issue.
The event was advertised as a two-part crossover and while it technically was, it felt like a pretty light crossover. Of the five main cast members in “Organized Crime,” only 3 play cops.
Meloni was the only character from OC to appear on the SVU episode while Mariska Hargitay was the only character to appear on the OC episode. While this might be enough to call it a two-part crossover, some may find the small number of characters crossing over disappointing.
However given that the crossover also served as the first episode of OC, this makes sense. The episode was able to act on its own in setting up the series, and too many crossover characters could cloud it.
The crossover finally gives some closure to Meloni’s character’s abrupt exit from SVU.
“Organized Crime” shows a lot of potential and it will be exciting to see what direction it goes throughout the season.
The event is solid and any former viewer of SVU should definitely check it out.