The Law & Order franchise got even bigger in 2021 thanks to the long-awaited premiere of the Organized Crime spinoff that brought back Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler as part of a brand new NYPD unit. While there are strong connections between Organized Crime and Law & Order: SVU, Stabler is surrounded by a new team on the new show, including computer expert Jet Slootmaekers, played by newcomer Ainsley Seiger. Seiger spoke with CinemaBlend about joining the Law & Order franchise and witnessing the legendary energy between Christopher Meloni and SVU star Mariska Hargitay.
As a computer expert able to work the kind of technological magic that Stabler definitely never experienced during his years in Special Victims, Jet holds a one-of-a-kind role in the Law & Order branch of the Dick Wolf universe. In a fun twist, Ainsley Seiger was a fan of Law & Order: SVU before she even landed the role on Organized Crime, and she shared her reaction to the prospect of seeing Stabler and Benson back on the small screen together. As it turns out, her feelings matched those of a lot of fans:
I was excited too. I feel like everyone's been looking forward to this for such a long time. To get to be a part of it is beyond amazing... It's like no time has passed [for them]. You know, how could you possibly want more from a partnership at your job? I think that's the most that anyone can ask for.
Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay shared the screen together for twelve full seasons before Stabler's departure ahead of Season 13, which was explained in a heartbreaking reveal to Benson that guaranteed a messy reunion when Stabler returned and SVU set up Organized Crime. Stabler has been an emotional wreck overall since the murder of his wife, but thanks to his connection to Benson as well as those with him in his new unit, he's more or less holding on.
As Ainsley Seiger noted, despite the awkwardness between the characters after their long years apart, the actors portraying them can still bring the energy that made Benson and Stabler so appealing to audiences the first time around. Seiger opened up about working with Mariska Hargitay and the energy between Hargitay and Christopher Meloni:
I was on set with her only just for one day so far. Of course, I had to take a picture with her. It was amazing. She is so incredibly talented. And she's so warm and she's so hilarious. And she and Chris get on like a house on fire. So that is just super intoxicating to be a part of, to witness. They kind of rope you into their energy, it's really quite awesome to be able to witness.
Christopher Meloni coming back to SVU as Elliot Stabler meant the return of a television legend and a reunion with his longtime scene partner, and the premiere of Law & Order: Organized Crime meant that a long-established character was going to be surrounded entirely by newcomers as series regulars. As Jet Slootmaekers, Ainsley Hayes is a key part of the Organized Crime ensemble and therefore the Law & Order franchise as a whole.
Organized Crime is unique on television for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is a brand new show starring a veteran actor back in his most famous role after nearly ten years. Ainsley Seiger opened up about joining Organized Crime for her first TV job with Christopher Meloni starring as Stabler, saying:
[It was] very cool. I had watched Special Victims Unit as a kid, and so I knew the world and the characters and to come into work on the first day, and my first scene was with Elliot Stabler, it felt very meta almost. It didn't feel like my real life. But it's been very cool. And it's been cool to see how Chris works, and how everything kind of goes down behind the scenes, because I have seen all the episodes of SVU and I have known the character before and then getting to come to work and see kind of what goes into that is very cool.
With Law & Order: SVU airing for 22 seasons and another two already ordered, Ainsley Seiger had the chance to grow up watching the show, including the earlier years with Christopher Meloni as Stabler. Thanks to the reruns that regularly air as well as the availability streaming on both Peacock and Hulu, SVU can reach a huge audience and all but guaranteed that Organized Crime would be a hit.
The close ties between SVU and Organized Crime mean that Ainsley Seiger has gotten to experience working with Mariska Hargitay, who is a television icon herself who worked her way up to becoming the face of the Law & Order franchise. Seiger shared what it has been like to work with the woman who has become such a legend, on screen and off:
Mind-blowing. I don't know if it sounds dumb to say that it's an honor, but it really is. She has made this show what it is not just because of her incredible, incredible career and presence as an actor, but also because of her social justice and humanitarian efforts going hand in hand with her job. And it's amazing to be a part of a franchise that values passion and empathy. Not only for characters, but in the performers who portray those characters.
With another two-part crossover between Law & Order: Organized Crime and Law & Order: SVU airing on May 13, the two shows remain as closely tied as ever even as they delve into different times crimes and even utilize different formats. NBC now has a Law & Order Thursday to go with One Chicago Wednesday. You can catch the latest developments with new episodes of Law & Order: SVU at 9 p.m. ET and Law & Order: Organized Crime at 10 p.m. ET on NBC Thursdays, featuring Ainsley Seiger as Jet Slootmaekers.
The death of Kathy Stabler, attack on Stabler, and attempted attack of Eli all prove that nobody is safe when it comes to Organized Crime, so be sure to tune in to new episodes on NBC Thursdays. Believe it or not, only a few weeks are left before the Season 1 finale of Law & Order: Organized Crime, which will air its finale (and possibly solve Kathy's murder) on June 3.