How Law And Order: Organized Crime Stars Prepared For Their Criminal Roles In Season 2

law and order organized crime agnes bogdani caroline lagerfelt nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

Law & Order: Organized Crime spent the first eight episodes of Season 2 with Stabler deep undercover with the Kosta Organization as Eddie "Ashes" Wagner, and he was immersed in an Albanian culture that he wasn’t familiar with. While he didn’t have too much trouble duping Reggie, others loyal to the family and keeping “besa” weren’t so easily convinced without some strong motivation. Now, with the arc ended to confirm who lived and who died, stars Caroline Lagerfelt and Vinnie Jones spoke about how they prepared to play some of the bad guys of Season 2. 

Caroline Lagerfelt played Agnes Bogdani, who actually didn’t seem like one of Season 2’s bad guys up until nearly the very end of the KO arc, when she proved that she wasn’t as willing to break besa as her son. Even Stabler underestimated Agnes, largely because her inability to speak concealed just what she was capable of, and he could have died for it. If she’d had better aim and better luck in the courtroom, Stabler’s time with the KO could have come to a much bloodier ending! When I spoke to the actress about joining Organized Crime, she explained the research that she put into preparing for the role:

It's so funny because, you know, I'm originally from Europe. I'm half Swedish and half English, and so these European countries are fairly familiar to me. But not really Albania because it was closed off from the world for so long. I've been a stage actress for 25 years and I love to do my research. I've been reading everything about it. I practice my Albanian with my super every day when I walk past him. He was very happy when I told him the word 'love' that I had learned. He had a big smile on his face. And so I'm really enjoying it. And there's a little Albanian cafe called Dua Kafe on East 14th Street in the East Village, and I went there to see how they make their coffee and how you read the grounds and everything, and they're now following me on Instagram.

Law & Order: Organized Crime didn’t just invent the reading of coffee grounds that Agnes did for Stabler back when she (rightfully) had her doubts about him as a friend of Reggie’s, and Caroline Lagerfelt did her research on how it worked. Plus, even though Agnes only spoke two lines in the season, she practiced her Albanian. She also shared that she “knew basically absolutely nothing” about what was in store for Agnes ahead of time, and didn’t even know that Vinnie Jones’ Albi was Agnes brother “until after like two episodes.”

What the actress did know was that Reggie (played by Dash Mihok) was her character’s son, and that they “had a very warm and loving relationship” contrasted with the complicated relationship between Stabler and his mom. Lagerfelt explained how she developed Agnes’ method of communication after the character's injury left her unable to speak, and working with Mihok:

It was actually great, because obviously, I learned all the lines, even though they didn't want me to say the lines. I researched these different speech defects. And the one they had chosen, which we went with, was a kind where after brain damage, where actually part of your mouth and your gums are paralyzed. And your voice is very hoarse, you know, and they didn't want to be able to decipher the actual words. So I worked on that. And it was a fun challenge. But I think a lot of it was also in my face, and in the urgency of my voice whether I was warning [Reggie], or being kind to him or thanking him. There's so much in tone, even without words, as somebody who speaks four languages and spent my life traveling around the world. My father was an ambassador. There's so much you can do with tone and expression and gesture. And I just sort of fell back into that. And [Dash Mihok] is just amazing. He just picks up on the tiniest little nuance of a look. I think he's extraordinary. I've been watching him for years, and it was a true honor to be able to work with him.

Agnes communicating through tone, expression, and gesture for almost all of her scenes made it all the more powerful when she actually spoke her two lines of the series, with the first revealing to Reggie that she hadn’t broken besa and the second as she tried to shoot Stabler in the courtroom. She failed at that, but arguably was one of the truest characters when it came to keeping besa. 

vinnie jones as albi briscu law and order organized crime nbc

(Image credit: NBC)

Albi also kept besa in his own way, but he was in a precarious position with “Eddie” after Stabler followed him to a gay bar, while he was also working at Kosta’s right hand and truly loved his wife, despite all of their differences and dysfunctions. This was a different kind of character for TV fans who may have best known Vinnie Jones for his work on ABC’s musical extravaganza Galavant or The CW superhero series Arrow. When we spoke about Organized Crime, the actor explained the draw of playing Albi:

Well, my manager phoned me, and I auditioned for it, sent my tape in and they liked the tape. But they were more concerned about the accent. So I [did] an Albanian accent, sent that in, and they loved it. And then [my manager] said, 'There's good news and bad news.' I said, 'Okay, what is it?' He said, 'You don't get killed.' I went 'Hurrah' because I get killed in most of my movies or TV shows. And he said, 'Your character's gay,' and I said, 'That's great.' ... So I said, 'What's the bad news?' He said, 'You're bald.’ So I embraced it. And yeah, I just really enjoyed it. It took a little bit of a while, going in and having my hair cut off every morning for work, but I kind of got used to it. And yeah, I've really enjoyed it.

A native of the United Kingdom, Vinnie Jones had to get comfortable with an Albanian accent to play Albi, who was certainly a departure from some of his other roles. He went on to praise Christopher Meloni as the star of Law & Order: Organized Crime as a “great leader of the show” and a “great captain." Jones clearly enjoyed his time on OC, so it’s no wonder that he was able to get used to having his hair cut off to play bald! 

Plus, as he noted, Albi wasn’t killed off, although there was more than one close call by the time the NYPD caught up with him. Vinnie Jones shared that there was even talk that his character and others from the KO might actually die by the end, with some ideas about why they ended up living: 

There was a lot of rumors on set that we're going to be killed and then we're going to be blown up, and [Michael Raymond-James, who played Jon Kosta] gets shot and killed. And then I think they loved our characters so much that they kept us alive. And I mean, if you go back to Arrow, I did six episodes of Arrow. They didn't kill me, they put me into prison. And then the following season, they come to me and said, '[Green] Arrow's being put in prison, we want you to come back for another six episodes.' So I think, you know, especially in TV, they don't like killing characters off.

As Arrow fans will remember, Vinnie Jones played a villain by the name of Danny Brickwell, and playing a character from the Arrowverse would give any actor reason to comment on TV shows not liking to kill characters off. Brick did eventually die on Arrow, but Albi is still alive in the OC world. He’s also locked up and unlikely to see freedom again any time soon, if at all, but does that mean that his story has to be done? Jones weighed in on whether he’d want to come back as Albi:

Oh, I think he can come back into it other ways! I think he could be an ally to Chris Meloni, to Stabler. I think he could be an ally there. You know, who knows? But I did say to the producers, Fred [Berner] and Ilene [Chaiken], I said, 'I loved this. I feel like part of the family. Please keep me around.' [laughs] I'd love to do that for the rest of my career.

Only time will tell if Albi or Agnes ever turn up again on this show, but there is precedent for a bad guy who has already been captured turning up again. Dylan McDermott reprised his role as Richard Wheatley early in Season 2, and the promo for the upcoming midseason finale (which will be a crossover with Law & Order: SVU) reveals that he’ll be back yet again to close out 2021. Take a look:

Check out the midseason finale of Law & Order: Organized Crime on Thursday, December 9 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following the midseason finale of SVU. The promo suggests that there will be some loaded moments between Benson and Stabler to go with all of the Richard Wheatley tension, so be sure to tune in. If you need some ways to pass the time with some similar storytelling from Wolf Entertainment, be sure to check out the Dark Woods podcast featuring a Law & Order franchise veteran!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.