Law And Order: Organized Crime Set Up A Big SVU Reunion, But It Was Bad News For Stabler

Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: Organized Crime
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for the March 17 episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime on NBC.

Law & Order: Organized Crime wasted no time in sending Stabler back undercover in the third arc of Season 2, with the team splitting their focus between him embedded in the Brotherhood gang led by Donnelly (played by Denis Leary) at the 37th precinct and Nova trying to keep her cop identity secret within the Marcy Killers organization. Stabler got some pretty terrible news at the end of “Guns & Roses” on March 17, but there is a bright side… for viewers, anyway. A big SVU reunion is on the way to OC!

What Stabler Found Out In "Guns & Roses"

After Donnelly was shot and Stabler earned more cred by taking care of the illegal stash of guns, he teamed up with a dirty cop by the name of Van Aller, who had a deadly secret from Donnelly. By the end of the hour, Van Aller committed suicide rather than let anybody other than Stabler find out his secret and face the consequences, and that somehow brought Donnelly and Stabler closer together. And unfortunately for Stabler, that meant hearing a story that turned everything he thought he knew about his dad upside down. Donnelly said:

You know, there was a story about your dad that was famous in my house growing up. So your dad and his partner, right? They’re cleaning house, no warrants, and they get ambushed by this hothead kid who’s unarmed, right? So your dad’s partner spooks, shoots the kid. Dead. Dead, right? So now a major screw up. They gotta make it look, you know, they justified the shooting. So your dad searches the house, finds a gun, has his partner shoot him in the leg to make it look like Joe was defending him. All right, you want to talk about cojones? So Joe Stabler got a damn Combat Cross for taking that bullet.

Donnelly was luckily too preoccupied in reflecting on how he and Stabler are “just like our dads” with “loyalty” and “brotherhood” to read the room and see the utter shock and devastation on Stabler’s face. His last scene in the episode was sitting at his desk at the 37th, holding his dad’s Combat Cross and reflecting on what he just learned until his new boss came up to complain about not being able to fire him and returning his gun. Stabler was clearly shaken to the core, and that will deliver a major reunion with a former SVU star: Dann Florek as Donald Cragen. 

Law & Order Organized Crime Danny Florek Cragen screenshot

(Image credit: NBC)

Why Stabler Needs Cragen

News that Dann Florek is coming to Organized Crime actually broke last week, and his reunion with Stabler comes in the same season that he returned to SVU for a cameo in the milestone 500th episode. The original news revealed that Stabler was going to go to Cragen to get some answers after Donnelly’s stories about his dad don’t line up with what he thought he knew, but it wasn’t until “Guns & Roses” that fans learned just how bad the story would be that would drive Stabler to visit Cragen.

It’s not clear just yet what Cragen has to tell him about Joe Stabler, but it makes sense that Stabler would go to his old boss for answers. Cragen is retired, so he doesn’t have to play politics at the NYPD, and Stabler has no reason not to trust him or the stories from back in the day. Cragen does appear in the promo for the next episode: 

It looks like Stabler might be visiting Cragen on his personal time rather than in any official capacity, which presumably means that Stabler doesn’t want to sully his dad’s good name without any corroboration of Donnelly’s story that Joe Stabler was dirty. Still, the stakes are very high with the Brotherhood gang operating out of the NYPD, so it’s hard to say for sure what happens next beyond another SVU reunion.

There have been plenty of episodes featuring an SVU alum, but that has naturally been Mariska Hargitay as Captain Benson, who made a brief appearance in the first installment of this new arc to keep the speculation going about whether a relationship between her and her former partner could actually work. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait a few weeks to see what this new SVU reunion with Dann Florek’s Cragen has in store, as Organized Crime (as well as SVU and the original Law & Order after its recent Britney Spears-esque story) will be on a break from NBC until April 7. 

For now, you can see what OC star Nona Parker Johnson had to say about the danger that is on the way as the plot thickens, as well as the importance of Nova’s relationship with Bell. For some viewing options during the wait for the show to return, check out our 2022 TV 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 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).