Why Law And Order: Organized Crime Is Probably Ending Stabler's Undercover Job Soon

Spoilers ahead for Episode 5 of Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2, called “The Good, the Bad, and the Lovely.”

Law & Order: Organized Crime has kept Elliot Stabler in nearly constant danger throughout the second season, to the point of him crossing line after line to preserve his undercover identity. The plot has definitely shown that Organized Crime isn’t just going to rinse and repeat storylines when comparing the Albanian mob to Richard Wheatley, but I for one am ready for the show to move on. And based on “The Good, the Bad, and the Lovely,” I may soon get my wish, because it’s looking like his time undercover will not last much longer. 

Admittedly, the case is still very much in progress, so not even fans thinking wishfully can probably imagine Stabler and Co. wrapping on the Albanian mob by the end of the next episode. Still, there are signs that the status quo of undercover Stabler this season could be heading toward an end, and potentially the overall arc itself in relatively short order. Here’s why. 

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(Image credit: NBC)

Stabler Outed Himself As Cop

The most obvious reason why Stabler might not be able to last much longer undercover is quite simply that he had to break out of his Eddie Wagner persona in order to save Rita, and he told her that he’s a cop, so he's taking risks already. The trafficking case really seemed to press a lot of his buttons, perhaps showing that he’ll always be a Special Victims cop at heart. Plus, his lies to Flutura were increasingly flimsy, and he’s pushing his luck with Reggie as well. Flutura’s announcement at the Albanian gym at the end of the episode that there’s a mole in their organization could be the beginning of the end for Stabler as Eddie. 

Plus, I’ve felt all along that Stabler is a little bit too casual in his visits to his family in a city where he could easily be followed and recognized. Organized Crime fortunately hasn’t put Eli or any of the others in his family in mortal danger from the mob (yet), and Stabler evidently didn’t leave a drugged trail to Benson when he broke the truth about the letter, but it seems like his story could fall apart as soon as the Albanians start poking at it. And he’s the most logical as the mole, as a newcomer to the organization. It just seems like his days as Eddie Wagner are numbered. I’m not mad about it!

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(Image credit: NBC)

Elliot Stabler Is Getting New Stories That Aren’t Eddie Wagner’s

The arrival of Ellen Burstyn as Bernie Stabler wasn’t just a one-off guest shot, as Stabler’s mom is staying with Kathleen, who is also housing Eli. Stabler had to admit that he hasn’t been around much, and Bernie was causing trouble by seemingly falsely accusing Eli of stealing her Valium. But – plot twist! – Eli really was stealing her drugs, intending to sell them but also being peer pressured about trying them. Just say no, Eli! Stabler is aware of the Eli issue by the end of the episode thanks to Benson dropping by, and Bernie doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. 

These are Elliot Stabler storylines that seem to just be starting, not new problems for his undercover identity as Eddie. Unless Law & Order: Organized Crime intends to either gloss over these issues or resolve them quickly, Stabler needs to be able to interact with his family more. Plus, I’m guessing that Stabler will have a part to play in the upcoming 500th episode of Law & Order: SVU (along with other returning familiar faces), which is not going to be an Organized Crime crossover and presumably wouldn’t need Eddie Wagner. I’m guessing there will be more Stabler and less Eddie on the way to the Law & Order universe soon.

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(Image credit: NBC)

The Case Doesn’t Have To Be Solved For Stabler To End His Undercover Work

Stabler seems like he’ll have his Eddie Wagner identity burned sooner rather than later, and therefore have to start working the case as a normal cop again. The case doesn’t have to end just because Stabler ends his time undercover, though. Organized Crime can move on from that element of the plot without actually ending it altogether. And honestly, I’d be interested in seeing that storyline. Stabler might have some reservations about the betrayals that might be necessary due to his time under, particularly Reggie.

That’s not to say that Stabler wouldn’t turn each and every one of them in, but he hasn’t been in a solid place emotionally ever since Kathy was murdered on SVU. Some new conflict about his time undercover could potentially be coming to mix things up for the storyline, and that would probably be a good thing. Plus, there's always the possible dangers of the bad guys learning his name, which could be bad news considering Eli shares his name with his dad.

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(Image credit: NBC)

The Plan Was Not For A Full Season Of The Albanian Mob

Way back when Dick Wolf and Co. were still in the planning stages for Season 2 of Law & Order: Organized Crime, he revealed that the plan was for the second season to be split up into three sections with three different big bads, saying (via TVLine) that the first third would be like The Godfather, the second third would be like American Gangster, and the final third like Scarface

Plus, Dylan McDermott returned to Organized Crime for Season 2 as a recurring actor, and I wouldn’t exactly say that his appearances in Season 2 so far would qualify as “recurring.” The odds seem pretty good that the arc with the Albanians will wrap by the the midseason finale, with that episode perhaps setting up the next arc. It’s also possible that the midseason finale will end on a cliffhanger, and the Albanian plot wouldn’t wrap until 2022, but I’m leaning toward Organized Crime moving on by the end of 2021.

At this point, however, we can only speculate about what comes next and how much longer Stabler will continue his double life as Eddie Wagner. He’s needed more and more at home, and his undercover identity is falling apart, but he has talked his way out of some pretty extreme situations already in Season 2. Nothing is certain at this point. 

Keep tuning in to Law & Order: Organized Crime on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC to find out what happens next, following Law & Order: SVU. NBC’s Thursday night lineup will finally be filled out starting on October 21, with The Blacklist Season 9 taking the 8 p.m. ET slot ahead of SVU’s 500th episode and whatever happens next on Organized Crime

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. 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).