Law And Order: Organized Crime's Danielle Moné Truitt Explains Bell's Breaking Point With Stabler And What She Wants Fans To Understand

Law & Order: Organized Crime has raised the stakes for the fall finale with the task force now on the verge of being split up. The NYPD brass decided to promote Ayanna Bell and separate the detectives, and she couldn’t do much more than try to find new units for the team and wait for the right time to break the news. Unfortunately, she’s also having to deal with Stabler going rogue again, and she’s not getting much support. Actress Danielle Moné Truitt opened up to CinemaBlend about the fall finale, Bell’s breaking point with Stabler, and what fans should know about her character. Plus, a first look fall finale clip (seen above) reveals that she's not taking what Stabler is dishing out!

Stabler has a tendency to respect Bell’s orders for as long as they overlap with his own wishes, and then go his own way whenever he thinks he can get away with it. Even after the lecture she gave him with a much-needed reality check this season, he didn’t even hesitate to ignore her instructions about not pursuing any new cases back in Episode 8. Ahead of the fall finale, Danielle Moné Truitt spoke with CinemaBlend. When I asked whether Bell has a breaking point with Stabler, she said that “Bell is over Elliot at this point” even though she “of course” loves him. The actress continued:

I think honestly Bell feels disrespected by Elliot because they've been working together this whole time. She gives him direct orders, he does not listen to them. Even in that episode, she told him to hand it off, and he handed it off to Jamie, when he knew that's not what she meant. She meant handing it off to another department, not hand it off to someone in the department so that you can still do what you want to do. So this is something they've had countless conversations about. Bell is always telling Elliot, 'I will not be undermined. You need to listen.' He does what he wants. That's why she's not really buying the whole trying to blame her for, 'You didn't tell me in advance.'

Stabler clearly held it against her at the end of Episode 8 – a.k.a. the last episode before the fall finale – that she was taking the promotion and hadn’t immediately told him that the unit was breaking up. He made the point that Kathy’s death is what started the team, but Bell isn’t going to take his blame. Danielle Moné Truitt elaborated on what’s going on in “Bell’s mind and in Bell’s perspective,” saying:

She’s like, 'You don't do what I ask you to do on a regular basis. So how do you ever really build trust between two people when I'm supposed to be the sergeant, and you continually undermine me and do what you want to do?' That's why she's not really here for it. She's like, 'Okay, whine and say what you want to say, but at the end of the day, why am I here? Because y'all listen to me.' [laughs] Then at the end of that episode, they all just turn their backs on her and walk away… As Danielle, reading this and working on this for my character, I felt like Bell would be hurt… I'm like, 'Y'all can't be doing my girl like this! It's not right.'

While the other detectives don’t know everything that Bell does about her promotion and her desire to find new places for them in the NYPD, walking out on her was a pretty dramatic move when she has more than earned their trust in her judgment. Plus, Jamie and Reyes only just joined the team (even though Jamie wasted no time trying to bond with Jet). It was a bad situation no matter what happened, so why wouldn’t Bell feel hurt? That’s not to say that the relationships are all broken, however. Truitt explained:

Bell loves Elliot. This is a family issue and they'll deal with it like family deals with it, and I believe they'll come back stronger and more understanding of one another and have a deeper respect for one another at the end of the day.

Coming back stronger and more respectful of each other can only be a good thing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll still be able to come back together as a unit. While it’s probably very safe to say that Stabler isn’t going to be shipped back over to Special Victims (even if it would reunite him with Benson after OC has been dropping some heavy hints), there’s no guarantee that the team will still be together by the end of the fall finale. Still, when I noted that nobody gets along with their family 100% of the time, Truitt responded:

Exactly! When you're the leader of a family, sometimes you have to make decisions. Sometimes there's things that are just out of your control that affect the family and then sometimes you have to make decisions, and the decision that Bell made was to wait to say anything. And I feel like that's her prerogative. She's the leader of the task force. They don't get to tell her when she should tell somebody information. She is the leader, so she's doing what she feels is right… Jet eavesdropping on the conversation doesn't mean Ayanna's timeline for telling them needs to be sped up just because Jet eavesdropped. And then Stabler – he doesn't get to tell Ayanna when she should have told him. That's the way I see it.

Stabler may be older than Bell (and possibly more ready to settle down than when the series started), but she outranks him and has earned her status as a sergeant. He seemed supportive of the news that she was promoted, even if that was the only nice thing that he really had to say to her on the subject. Would Bell give up the promotion to deputy inspector and stay as sergeant of Organized Crime, if she had a choice? Danielle Moné Truitt confirmed where her character’s loyalties truly lie: 

In a heartbeat! It's never been in her mind. For people who've been watching the series for a long time, Bell has been offered jobs several times, and she declined them several times… Bell never wanted to be a deputy inspector in the first place. She loves the task force. She started the task force. She doesn't want to leave! But the people above her, for whatever their reasons are, they want to shut this task force down, and they feel like her skills could be better utilized being a deputy inspector.

Bell has many notable qualities, but ambition to rise above her role as sergeant of Organized Crime isn’t one of them, even when she has had the opportunity. The actress went on to point out that the character’s options are extremely limited, and she hopes that fans will understand that about Bell:

If she didn't take the job as a deputy inspector, then Bell wouldn't have a job. Since it's not her choice whether the task force gets shut down, she's going to take the job. It doesn't make any sense for her to be out there unemployed, but I think that's one of the things I hope people will come to understand this next episode or in the future [is] Bell does not want to leave at all. She's between a rock and a hard place and she has people above her that are making her do certain things.

There’s no real good choice ahead for the sergeant, as of the penultimate episode of 2022. Her only control over the situation is to find new units for her detectives, and Danielle Moné Truitt described Bell’s priority as wanting “to close out the next few days that they have together on a high note” despite the fact that “everybody's upset and irritated and mad and disappointed.” She’s no happier herself, after all! 

See what the final days of the task force look like (and whether they’ll find a way to stick together despite the NYPD brass) with the Season 3 fall finale of Law & Order: Organized Crime on Thursday, December 8 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. It will be a full night of Law & Order action, with the fall finale of the original delivering what actor Mehcad Brooks describes as Shaw’s “worst nightmare” and SVU saying goodbye to Kelli Giddish as Amanda Rollins in its Season 24 fall finale, which will also involve Benson addressing her feelings for Stabler.  

The three shows and many others have already received their return dates in the 2023 TV premiere schedule, so be sure to check it out! If you want to spend the weeks between the fall finale and winter premiere revisiting past episodes, you can do so streaming with a Peacock subscription

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.