The Law & Order: Organized Crime squad is expanding in the upcoming third season, with the news that two new detectives will arrive on the scene when the hit NBC drama returns. While OC tends to bring in new stars at the beginning of each arc (and sometimes loses them at the end of that arc), the addition of two new detectives to the relatively small Organized Crime Control Bureau raises a question: is the show actually bringing them in to replace some current characters?
Arrow veteran Rick Gonzalez will fight crime in a very different way than he did in the Arrowverse as a detective in the task force, according to Deadline, along with Pam & Tommy’s Brent Antonello. No further details about their characters beyond that they are NYPD detectives coming to Sgt. Bell’s unit have been announced so far, but that’s enough to fuel some speculation about what their arrivals mean for the existing cast.
While it’s safe to say that Chris Meloni as Elliot Stabler and Danielle Moné Truitt as Sgt. Bell aren’t going anywhere, that’s not necessarily the case for the other cops in the Organized Crime task force. Ainsley Seiger’s Jet Slootmaekers is presumably safe, as both a fan-favorite and a detective who fills an essential role in the team with skills that are unique within the nine-show Dick Wolf universe. But what about Maldonado and Cho?
Unlike the other three, Det. Maldonado (Mike Cannon) and Det. Cho (Rachel Lin) have not been around from the very beginning, but came on board when Bell’s unit had to work with Brewster’s early in Season 2. They stuck around for the rest of the season, and were present at Stabler’s award ceremony at the end of the finale, along with his family and Cragen, in another return from original SVU star Dann Florek.
There was no sign that they were going anywhere, but if anybody in the task force could be replaced by Rick Gonzalez and Brent Antonello’s new characters, it would be these two...at least compared to Stabler, Bell, and Jet. They also came from a narcotics background, so it’s not too hard to imagine that OC could simply send Maldonado and Cho back to their old unit to bring in the newcomers.
Season 3 is a new era for Organized Crime, in a way; after the news back in February that showrunner Ilene Chaiken was stepping down, former SVU executive producer Bryan Goluboff was named the new showrunner shortly before SVU named its new showrunner. Maybe his tenure is beginning with some fresh blood?
Or, of course, Organized Crime isn’t saying goodbye to Cho or Maldonado in the process of bringing in these two new detectives, and this is just a false alarm. Although not confirmed, I’ve been assuming that fans unfortunately won’t be seeing as much of Nona Parker Johnson’s Nova in Season 3, if any at all. Season 2 ended with the reveal that she’d resigned from the NYPD after a very intense arc, and the strong implication that she’d killed Webb. If she remains absent, that even opens a vacancy in the task force.
At the end of the day, we can’t say for sure just yet if the new detectives mean that Maldonado and Cho are on the way out, but I’m not going to rule it out at this point. Rick Gonzalez and Brent Antonello are just the latest actors playing new detectives for the Wolf Entertainment universe in the new season. Law & Order: SVU has a newcomer on the way as well. Chicago P.D. also has a new series regular cop who will expand that Intelligence Unit.
See the Organized Crime squad back in action with the Season 3 premiere of Law & Order: OC on Thursday, September 22 at 10 p.m. ET, following the Season 24 premiere of SVU at 9 p.m. and Season 22 premiere of Law & Order at 8 p.m. The three shows were reportedly aiming to return in the fall with a three-part crossover, and Mariska Hargitay recently shared a photo of her behind-the-scenes with Chris Meloni, but only time will tell if that crossover event truly happens. For more upcoming viewing options, check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.
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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. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).