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Broadcast TV Law & Order: Organized Crime (NBC) (1 Viewer)

Adam Lenhardt

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I was really surprised and impressed with this premiere. While the cast of characters are all right out of the Law & Order catalog of archetypes, it completely obliterates the investigated, tried, and convicted conceit of the other series in the franchise. Going completely serialized, telling one story over the course of an entire season, isn't a bold move for television but it's an extremely bold move for "Law & Order".

It's also interesting having Eliot Stabler, the poster boy for the "tough on crime" era of cop shows, as the protagonist in the Black Lives Matter era, and seeing the ways he's changed -- and the ways he's not changed -- in response to the changing times.

The tragedy in the SVU crossover episode directly prior also puts him in a different place as a person; he's the only parent his children have left, and they all know his job probably was the reason their mother is dead. Four of his kids are adults now, with complicated feelings about a father who always put the job ahead of them. And he's tearing his youngest kid away from his whole life in Italy while the trauma of losing his mother is still painfully fresh.

My assumption was that they would somehow have finagled Stabler into becoming a captain during his decade-long absence, to put him on equal footing with Benson over at "SVU", and I was glad they avoided that sort of contrivance. Much like Burnham in the first season of "Discovery", he's the main character but not the boss. At the same time, he's only the second person assigned to the task force, so he'll have a much bigger role in shaping it than a senior detective coming into a well-established unit.

Ainsley Seiger reminded me a lot of a younger Anna Paquin as the hacker who will almost certainly be joining the task force.
 

Jeffrey D

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It aired at 8:00 last night on NBC, right? On my DirecTV listing, it didn’t say Organized Crime- I believe it listed the show as SVU. I rarely DVR anything, but I recorded what I hope was the right show because of Stabler and Benson meeting again. I hope I didn’t screw up.
 

Garysb

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It aired at 8:00 last night on NBC, right? On my DirecTV listing, it didn’t say Organized Crime- I believe it listed the show as SVU. I rarely DVR anything, but I recorded what I hope was the right show because of Stabler and Benson meeting again. I hope I didn’t screw up.
It airs at 10PM EDT/ 9:00PM CDT. The two L&O shows last night ran like one 2 hour movie. They didn't even run the SVU end credits at the end of their hour. I thought is was very well done. I am glad that Liv didn't instantly forgive El's for leaving 10 years ago without telling her. I am glad she was there to comfort him when Kathy died. They are more rounded characters than on most procedurals. Obviously they are not going to be on the same show but I hope they wrap up their story in the time available for them to crossover in the next few episodes. We still need to hear about that letter he wrote her presumably where he will explain to her and us why he didn't contact her for 10 years.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I enjoyed the second episode, too. The production values are noticeably slicker than the other Law & Order shows, and the long-form storytelling allows for ambiguity and gray areas to creep into what had been a very black and white franchise.

At the same time, Stabler has been changed by the years since he left SVU. He's making a genuine effort to be a team player, and he lets a bit more vulnerability show through. He's also a single father now raising a teenage son, so that's a change from the man who was consumed by his work. He still has that macho energy, but it's a bit more tempered.

Sgt. Bell, the task force leader, is also intriguing. You can always count on Benson to do the right thing for the right reasons. Bell is a bit more of a political animal. She's working toward the right ends, but there are lines she's comfortable crossing to get there.

Bell, Stabler, and the hacker are the only task force members that are series regulars. So the fates of the other two detectives on the taskforce are very much unknown. They could be corrupt, they could get killed; it's another destabilizing element.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I continue to enjoy the intricacy of the various character relationships, and how this whole thing feels like a web woven together. This episode was satisfying, with the taskforce taking down Wheatley's hitman while Wheatley himself eluded their grasp.

Given how integral the pandemic is to the plot of these first few episodes, it's a bit strange how seldom the characters where masks. When I'm at work, my employer requires me to wear my mask anytime I leave my cubicle. Given that the taskforce's office is an open layout, you'd think they'd be wearing masks all of the time while they're on the clock -- certainly when they're out in public. Now obviously, there's production reasons for the lack of masks -- nobody wants to see the series leads with half their faces hidden behind masks, and the masks would also be a nightmare for capturing useable sound on set. But the scene where they crash Wheatley's vaccination clinic and Stabler put on a mask to go through security, then took it off for his big dick-swinging monologue really drove home the oddness of it.

Another thing that's stood out to me: some of Stabler's kids were recast for this new show, while others weren't. Obviously youngest son Eli, who was only an infant in his SVU appearances, has been recast. But so have Maureen and Lizzie. Allison Siko (as Kathleen) and Jeffrey Scaperrotta (as Dickie) both played their characters as kids during Stabler's SVU years. Kathleen and Dickie by far made the most appearances on SVU, so it makes sense that they'd be the characters where continuity would be most important. But I'm wondering if the actresses who played Maureen and Lizzie on SVU simply aren't in the business anymore.
 

Robert Crawford

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I never watched any "Law & Order" series. With that said, I was messing around with my Peacock streaming service this morning and ended up watching the first three episodes of this series. I was intrigued because I remembered Adam's posts about this series and now I'm hooked. :D
 

Adam Lenhardt

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This has become one of my favorites airing right now. The show does an excellent job charting Stabler's grief over his wife's death, and the anxiety/insomnia/PTSD that resulted from the horrific way she died.

And the characters on both sides of the law are pretty darn competent. Wheatley is smart enough to be suspicious of Gina, and Gina is smart enough to -- at least so far -- outmaneuver him. The hitman is smart enough to write his own ticket, and the DA is smart enough to keep the deal that's been struck off Wheatley's radar.

And then there was that moment when Stabler fled from his family's intervention, to the ex-wife (and co-conspirator) of the man he's gunning for. Stabler went to her in spite of his suspicions about her, and she let him in despite knowing the threat he poses to her family. Because, in that moment, they were just two human beings connecting over a shared understanding of loss.

The final beat of tonight's episode was also a doozy.

The show's off next week, and then there's an SVU/Organized Crime two-hour crossover event on 5/13.
 

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