For a show that's been as eagerly awaited as Law & Order: Organized Crime has been, it has definitely had a difficult road when it comes to getting off of the ground, though the challenges have mostly been out of the productions' control. The show, which will finally (FINALLY!) bring Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler back to the police force after a full decade away, was announced late last March, during what would prove to be an increasingly difficult time to film anything. Organized Crime was fully into production recently, but now the series has become another in a long line to have to pause for the pandemic.
Here's what's going on. According to Deadline, production on Law & Order: Organized Crime has had to pause again, after already enduring several setbacks, because a positive COVID-19 result has been found among the staff in what they call "Zone A." That particular category of employees is typically reserved for on-camera talent, so it's incredibly likely that one of the actors was found to have the virus, though we don't know right now whether or not it was someone with a large part on the series.
The positive test was found as part of the network's, now standard, safety protocols, where all cast and crew are tested on a regular basis and put into separate work zones depending on who they need to interact with regularly in order to get their jobs done. After those behind Organized Crime confirmed the positive test, contact tracing began to make sure that anyone who worked closely with the employee was notified. As is necessary, the production halt means that cast and crew who've been identified as those who had close contact with the person are now self-isolating.
It's not known right now exactly when filming will be able to start up again, but the production halt is not expected to impede the April 1 premiere of Law & Order: Organized Crime.
Of course, this is yet another unfortunate consequence of working on any production right now. While filming slowly began again on several projects last summer, with a lot of new safety measures in place, that doesn't mean that it's all been smooth sailing. Many shows started to film, only to have to shut down when one or more positive tests were discovered.
Shows like For Life, Days of Our Lives, and Young Sheldon all had to suspend production temporarily late last year, after already having later than usual production starts for those series which typically have fall seasons. And, just last month, The Real Housewives of New York City became another in a long line of those franchise shows which also had to halt production for a while due to a positive test result.
It's lucky for the fans who've been hoping for a decade to see Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler again that Law & Order: Organized Crime was at least far enough along in filming that the April 1 premiere should still be set. The beloved character will officially return to the small screen on the series where it all started for him, Law & Order: SVU, where he'll be reunited (at long last) with Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson for a two-part crossover that will lead into the Organized Crime debut.
Hopefully, by the time Law & Order: Organized Crime premieres on April 1 at 10 p.m. EST (as the second part of that SVU crossover, which will start at 9 p.m. EST that same night), anyone on set who had been impacted by the virus will be completely healthy and living their best life again.