Law And Order: Organized Crime Found A Fun Way To Handle Benson And Stabler Without SVU Crossovers, And I'm Ready For More

The three Law & Order shows returned this fall with a bloody three-part crossover, but not even SVU and Organized Crime have been sharing characters in the weeks since. That’s undoubtedly disappointing to fans of the Benson/Stabler dynamic (played for more than two decades now by Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni), especially after some of the images that were released over the summer. That said, the latest episode of Organized Crime included an exchange that touched on Benson and Stabler in a fun way, but didn’t require Hargitay to appear, and I'm all for more.

The exchange was actually between Stabler and new Organized Crime detective Jamie Whelan, played by Brent Antonello. They were discussing the relationship between Kenny (the suspect they were chasing) and his longtime friend Dede. Whelan had a hot take about relationships, and Stabler had the very specific experience to debunk it. Here’s how it went down: 

  • Whelan: “Here’s what I don’t buy. No way two people are that close for that long and don’t sleep with each other.”
  • Stabler: “You sure about that?” 
  • Whelan: “What’s that mean?”

Whelan presumably has no idea about the tricky history between Stabler and his former partner, and Stabler probably would have rather gotten a dozen more Brotherhood tattoos than name-drop Benson to the newcomer in this context, but fans can be pretty confident about who Stabler was thinking about with his response... and why he didn’t even answer Whelan when he asked what Stabler meant by it. 

And whether you’re a fan of Benson and Stabler’s friendship as is, want to see Benson and Stabler become romantic, or (like me) just enjoy the drama of the ambiguity between them ever since his return, I hope we can all agree that this was a fun and funny way to address their relationship between crossovers. There’s no denying that the two characters are important to each other, but plenty of ways to interpret Stabler’s words. 

I especially got a kick out of Stabler alluding to her on Organized Crime considering that most of the allusions to Stabler on SVU are because somebody brings him up to Benson to try and get a rise out of her. Besides, the three Law & Order shows could benefit from adding a few moments of lightness. The opening narration of SVU refers to “especially heinous” crimes, while Organized Crime’s narration mentions “vicious and violent members of the underworld.” Viewers deserve the occasional moment of lightness!

Admittedly, it’s possible that I’m hoping for more nods here and there to Benson and Stabler because the episodes are counting down before SVU says goodbye to Kelli Giddish’s Amanda Rollins, whose dynamic with Carisi has been one of the lighter and more heartwarming aspects of all three shows. But I got a laugh out of this tiny exchange in Organized Crime, and would love to get little comments like this every once in a while that aren’t taunts to Benson.

See how Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime keep telling their stories on Thursday nights on NBC, with SVU at 9 p.m. ET and Organized Crime at 10 p.m. ET. You can revisit past episodes of both shows streaming with a Peacock subscription, and find more viewing options with our 2022 TV premiere schedule.  

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.