Law And Order: Organized Crime Showrunner Explains How Stabler And Benson's Relationship Is Evolving In Future Crossovers

Benson and Stabler in a house in Law and Order: Organized Crime
(Image credit: NBC )

When it comes to the myriad Dick Wolf dramas sprinkled across primetime, it's safe to assume that Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson and Christopher Meloni's Elliot Stabler are as essential to fans as, say, the Windy City is to the One Chicago lineup. And the powers that be are well aware of the massive draw that those franchise leads have had since the very beginning, especially when they're hitting the streets together in crossover episodes. Now it sounds like the characters will be more in sync than ever, as Law & Order: Organized Crime's showrunner revealed how the creative teams are attempting to maintain more continuity between projects.

More often than not, crossover team-ups play out in similar ways, where the detectives put their skills to the test for stressful cases, with a smaller focus on more personal exchanges, since small talk would likely involve details.  But Law & Order: Organized Crime boss Bryan Goluboff says he and SVU executive producer Julie Martin are "talking a lot" abou how to make their two universes feel like a more cohesive whole. Here's how he put it in an interview with Fangirlish:

It’s a loyal, passionate fanbase, and I want to respect their investment in these people. And so, we’re going to try and have the shows have some synchronicity. [It's] tricky because you’re also existing in your own timelines and your own cases. . . . I’ll give you a great example: I’m starting to build in a crossover, and I’m able to call over and go, ‘What’s going on in Olivia’s life? If we’re going to do this…what’s happening — what’s happening in your universe that I can carry over?'

In this way, fans may be able to watch Benson and Stabler's friendship (and more?) deppen as each can dig into the other's life a bit more in ways that could evolve, as opposed to basically resetting each time they meet up. And part of that evolution involves Chris Meloni's Stabler shedding some of his more impersonal habits that rely on holding job duties up as a reason why he can’t open up. 

But Bryan Goluboff says that won’t be so much of a factor in Law & Order: Organized Crime’s third season, as Stabler won’t be undercover or having to worry about keeping his identity hidden. He’ll be out in the open and allowed to engage in his friendship with Benson. Because even though the showrunner does enjoy when the two detectives are butting heads over a case, he understands why fans love to see them working side by side as well. In his words:

It’s very satisfying to have them in opposition. [But] it’s equally satisfying to have them in lockstep. So, one of the things that I’m feeling is, look: They were one of the — if not the — one of the greatest detective teams in television history. People like to watch them work cases. It’s how they dance; it’s how they communicate. And the result of that is they bring catharsis to victims. They put monsters away. And I think it’s extremely satisfying, emotionally, to watch.

Granted, it’s not like fans should expect to see romantic sparks flying as the duo are in the midst of cracking down on suspects and trying to solve brutal murders. That might be just a tad bit awkward, for the suspects if no one else. Still, Goluboff points out that seeing their efforts combined is a big reason why the fandom stays focused on the pair. 

Then, just when things seemed like they wouldn’t get more interesting, Bryan Goluboff spoke to the idea of Christopher “Big Zaddy Energy” Meloni and Mariska Hargitay’s characters serving as a “daddy” and “mommy” for viewers. Nothing psychological or Oedipal to see here, folks. In his words: 

When they’re activated, and they have a monster to fight, it’s what attracts me to them. It’s having them activated against a real enemy, that we need protection from. Because, to me, that’s what worked about SVU for 12 years. It was, someone was hurt. And Olivia was Mommy, and she was going to believe you and talk to you. And he was Daddy, and he was going to go out, and find that guy, and kick his ass. That team worked, right? So, sometimes, we want Mommy and Daddy back together. We want to be protected by them; we want that feeling back. And that’s not them talking — that’s them working. So, that’s my take on it.

Gonna need Benson and Stabler to wear Mommy and Daddy shirts going into the new seasons, now. Like, for reals. You can’t just say something like that and NOT make the leads of two highly popular TV shows wear descriptive clothing that draws attention to it. 

All three Law & Order series are giving fans a mega-crossover to kick off the new seasons, with SVU’s 24th season debuting after the flagship drama on Thursday, September 22, at 9:00 p.m., without the exiting star Kelli Giddish on board anymore. That’ll be followed by Organized Crime Season 3 premiere at 10:00 p.m. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows are on the horizon. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.