Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 1 Episode 1 Review: What Happens In Puglia

If anyone expected Elliot Stabler to follow the NYPD’s lead quietly after his wife’s death, they don’t know him very well.

There was only one word for the spinoff series featuring Stabler joining Organized Crime as part of his bid to get justice for Kathy: different.

Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 1 Episode 1 offered a far grittier series than viewers may be used to. It felt at times more like a crossover with The Sopranos than part of the Law & Order franchise.

A new series like this is always challenging to follow.

While the kickoff on Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 9 featured many characters we knew on Organized Crime, everyone was a stranger except for Stabler, his family, and Benson.

And unlike on most Law & Order series, most of the new characters weren’t cops; many of them were members of the mob or, at least, tied to the mob in some way.

This wasn’t a bad thing by any means. It was just a lot of moving parts to keep track of.

Law & Order: Organized Crime also will follow this one case throughout the eight episodes NBC ordered for the first season.

As the season progresses, viewers will likely understand more and more about who these people are and what their connection is to Kathy’s death.

One of the best aspects of Stabler’s new gig is his relationship with his new boss.

He made a poor first impression on her by going rogue at the jail, confronting the people he believed killed the man who had information that could have given him answers.

You know what? I’m getting sick and tired of everyone judging me from who I was 12 years ago. I was a damn good cop.


His new boss doesn’t like that kind of behavior, doesn’t like that his hotheaded ways got him in so much trouble in the past, and doesn’t seem to like him much, period.

Stabler will have to make some big adjustments quickly if he hopes to prove himself to her.

The SVU of yesteryear might have tolerated his willingness to cross any line to take down a perp, but it will NOT be accepted here, and if he wants to continue to look into Kathy’s death, he’s going to have to come to terms with that.

His boss also sees the investigation into Kathy’s death as secondary to her investigation into the international drug cartel, and that’s sure to cause a ton of conflict down the line.

Stabler: Your bomber made a mistake. Took my wife from me.
Mob Boss: I don’t make mistakes like that, son. If I wanted you dead you’d be in the ground.

I don’t care what Stabler agreed to; there’s no way he’s going to stick to his promise if he has to choose between chasing a dealer down or getting info about his wife’s murder.

The other subplot I loved was Stabler’s inability to deal with his grief over Kathy’s death.

My heart broke for him when he asked Angela Wheatley how long it takes to get past a death. Half the reason she had no answer was that she was lying about her mob-member ex-husband’s demise, but the other half is that there is no good answer.

And Stabler’s insistence on throwing himself into the investigation seems like a way to numb his feelings of loss, too. That could lead to a further tragedy down the line: the alienation of everyone he cares about.

His kids didn’t seem happy that he’d decided to move back to New York, especially Eli. And he had to cut dinner with them after the funeral short, so he could go on a secret mission to chase down a lead.

He also has to be careful if he doesn’t want to push Benson any further away than he already has.

After reading his letter, Benson was finally ready to talk… but Stabler had to run off to meet a contact in the investigation and couldn’t tell her what he was doing.

That doesn’t bode well for their future. They still could be endgame,  but if so, it’s going to be slow and painful, and Stabler’s job is going to make it more difficult than it has to be.

Law & Order: Organized Crime also did something the franchise hasn’t done since Criminal Intent ended: show us the bad guys’ point of view.

In some ways, this was confusing because we don’t know yet exactly what’s going on.

For example, did Richard really kill Sinatra because of his father’s racist attitudes, or was he trying to keep him quiet? And what on Earth did that final scene between Richard and Angela even mean?

Hopefully, it will start to make sense soon because right now, I’m completely lost!

This was easily one of the most anticipated premieres of the year, so feeling frazzled and confused after watching isn’t what we would have expected.

Still, it’s new, and we have hope that this serialized Law & Order branch will smooth out and engage us entirely as the season progresses.

Your turn, Organized Crime fanatics!

Hit that big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought of the premiere.

If you want to chat about the kickoff event for this series, make sure to check out our Law & Order: SVU Season 22 Episode 9 review.

And don’t forget you can also watch Law & Order: Organized Crime online if you’d like to refresh your memory before you jump into the comments.

Now, let’s start a conversation!

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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