Law & Order: Organized Crime debuted on NBC this spring to expand the Dick Wolf universe even further and bring back a Law & Order: SVU legend for the first time in nearly a decade, but the show has also brought in plenty of fresh blood to guarantee Organized Crime takes the franchise in some brand new directions. Ainsley Seiger joined Organized Crime as her first TV role, playing tech genius Jet Slootmaekers, who has been key to several operations within the task force and stands as the only character of her kind within the franchise. The actress recently spoke with CinemaBlend about her unique position as Jet, social media reactions, and more.
A computer expert and hacker like Jet was of course not necessary back when Law & Order: SVU premiered back in 1999, when Benson and Stabler carried bulky cell phones that were years away from being smart and couldn't rely on tech like is possible nowadays, so there was no character like Ainsley Seiger's Jet. And in fact, none of the One Chicago shows that share the TV universe have a tech expert as a series regular either. Seiger opened up about playing such a first-of-its-kind character:
It's fun to be able to play a character that had not had a lot of prior exploration. It was specifically just having the job of working more digitally, things like that. But also, that being kind of young and not like a lot of characters we typically see on the show who are used to working on a team, this concept of coming together to solve the crime. I don't think she really understands how to do that, but I think she's definitely getting there. And it's super awesome to play a character slowly warming up to this task force, and slowly coming to the understanding of working as a group, rather than 'I will do my own thing. I'll give you what you need and then you can get out of my computer lair.'
Unlike the veteran characters on Organized Crime (and SVU, for that matter), working in a unit that needs to be pretty tight-knit was new to Jet, and she doesn't really have a peer in the group based on her expertise. Still, she has been confident in her work, and the ground that the team has made over the episodes that have aired so far wouldn't have been possible without her. The job isn't all triumph, all the time, but if they manage to nail Richard Wheatley before the end of Season 1, Jet will have had an important part to play in it.
Jet's confidence in her tech and hacking skills naturally raises the question of whether Ainsley Seiger has some of the same skills, or picked them up in the process of believably bringing this character to life on television. According to Ainsley Seiger, the tech know-how is all in the performance! Ainsley explained:
I got really good at typing keysmash so far. [laughs] It's so funny because I will get people coming on my Twitter or my Instagram, and I'll say something about how I'm not great with technology or I'm not great with computers or I'll make a joke about it. And people are like 'Oh, but you're Sloot! You're a hacker!' And I'm like, 'I pretend.' But I'm trying to learn as much as I can about kind of the world of computers, and specifically the world of hacking, and also what it's like to use that in a professional setting, rather than just as a kind of freelance position. But I'm not great with technology. I'm good at video games. And that's just really because I have okay hand-eye coordination.
Hey, if the screen isn't going to show whether or not you're typing everything that your character is supposed to be typing, then why not focus on other parts of the job? It would be fun to get a reveal that Jet is an expert gamer in all of her free time to let Ainsley Seiger bring in some of her real-life talents, but at this point in Organized Crime Season 1, nobody in the task force seems to really be in the mood to mess around with some video games. Maybe next season? Ainsley Seiger continued, explaining that she uses social media to keep an eye on fan reactions to the show and to Sloot:
Heavily. And they know this too, that I'm pretty active on social media, I like to see what people are saying. And I know the whole concept of don't read reviews, which you know, absolutely, if you don't want to see it, I totally believe in that. But I like to see what people are saying. So I'm out there on social media. And the fans know, too that if they tweet at me, I'll stalk their Twitters. So I will really try to keep up to date on people's thoughts and opinions and all of that. And it's been so much fun. And I think my favorite thing about it is that the fans are so hilarious. And It's been really, really fulfilling to see people love Jet as much as I like her.
Fortunately, the reactions to Jet and Organized Crime on social media have evidently been positive so far, which makes sense! Not only did the premiere of Law & Order: Organized Crime allow for the long-awaited reunion of Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler and Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson, whose energy together Ainsley Seiger described as "intoxicating," but also expanded a TV universe, introduced unique new characters like Jet, and tells a serialized story that doesn't often happen on crime TV shows.
All of this said, the first season of Law & Order: Organized Crime will come to an end in the not-too-distant future. New episodes air on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC through to the Season 1 finale on June 3, following the Season 22 finale of Law & Order: SVU. The very good news is that Organized Crime has already been renewed for Season 2, so fans can head into the finale at least knowing that Stabler, Jet, and the rest (or at least the survivors of Season 1) will be back again with the potential for more crossovers. SVU received a mega-renewal last year and will be back for another two seasons.