Friday, May 6, 2022

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - Stabler and Benson Work Together Again When a Young Girl Is Kidnapped in 'Lost One'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 2.20 "Lost One"

When a 9-year-old girl is kidnapped in connection with the Brotherhood, Stabler and the task force must work together with Benson and the SVU to track down the culprits before it's too late.

"Lost One" was written by Juliet Lashinsky-Revene and directed by Cherie Nowlan

Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson worked together at SVU for twelve years. It was shocking when he left the squad without saying goodbye. She was stunned nearly a decade later when he showed up in her life again with his wife clinging to life. Kathy died. Stabler returned to the city with a new job. Olivia has checked in from time to time to see how he's been doing. The family voiced their concerns about his mental well-being. He still carries the raw emotions of tragedy. He remains committed to his work too. He is still seen as trustworthy to carry out the job and even investigate other cops. It doesn't matter what his record says. He is a good cop. Olivia trusts him as her partner. And yet, this is the first time they've worked a case together in a decade. They argue over whether it's an SVU case or an Organized Crime one. It happens in an Organized Crime episode. That means it does play to the more ongoing concerns established on this show. That means Olivia has a different experience interacting with this world. She and Stabler are partners. They are working together. However, the people involved in the missing persons case respond differently to each of them. Olivia is the respected captain and the best in her field. She brings respect and legitimacy to the investigation. She also must be removed from several of the details that would otherwise suggest the corruption of this family and their friends. Meanwhile, Stabler is a part of the Brotherhood. He carries personal responsibility for what has happened. Jesse Santos was arrested because of this intervention and examination of his criminal choices on the job. And now, his daughter has been kidnapped in order to further make a point. It all connects back to Donnelly. He steals from every organized gang in the city. He is trusted to help them avoid attention and suspicion. He also knows the operations well enough to strike and line his own pockets. He functions as that smooth operator. He is charming and manipulative. Stabler is forming a close bond with him. Donnelly names his new son after him. That's how deep this relationship has gotten very quickly. Stabler befriended Donnelly because the brass at One Police Plaza knew he was corrupt. He had a way in. Their families have history. That has only made things more complicated for Stabler. He has long idolized the job. But now, he is forced to question every single aspect. That actually makes it appreciated when Olivia comes back in and works a case with him. That puts things back in perspective. Plus, it provides a satisfying nostalgia trip for longtime fans of the pair.

That history radiates in every scene where Olivia and Stabler get to effectively serve as a team. Sometimes it's forced to come across as a performance. One where Stabler trusts her to do this job while also having to project some distance. That prevents the storytelling from fully embracing this reunion. However, the task force is more than capable of handling this job. It simply hits in a much more vulnerable space for them as it's a case they don't typically deal with. It's one they have to engage in though. So much of this may be happening because of their actions. Moreover, Jet is right back in the field despite her recent shooting. She continues to carry the weight of that moment. She lashes out at Malachi which only affirms how much she cares about him. That's sweet. And yet, the tension continues to escalate. Donnelly is the one framing Stabler. He stole Webb's money from the launderer and acted surprised later on when discovering nothing in the vault. The task force was tracking that money. It's the same money Donnelly gives to Rosaria to pay the ransom for her daughter. Donnelly keeps so much from the rest of the Brotherhood. Jesse is willing to wear a wire now. That's a huge development. One that he was forced into accepting. It carries a ton of risk. Donnelly is rightfully paranoid from time to time. He doesn't trust Stabler even though everything in his presentation points to him being his best friend. That's simply not true. The threat is much more real than anyone is willing to admit. Stabler must always be ready for anything. That includes Webb too. He may retaliate as well because his money hasn't been returned and Cassandra is being intimidated. Bell storming into her gallery looking for the missing girl is too tangentially connected to the rest of the episode. It has a purpose. It's meant to ramp up the drama in that corner too. It's just more forced because the task force doesn't have an immediate reason to blame the Marcy Organization for this kidnapping. It's escalatory without providing much payoff. This episode does prove how so many people currently work well together as a team. However, the focus always remains on Stabler. He continues to explore the mysteries of his past. He collects evidence in the hopes of understanding what his father was like on the job. He sees a reality in which Donnelly told him the truth about staging a crime scene. He didn't earn a medal for his bravery. Everything can fall into turmoil. Stabler grows older and still faces these complications. They have a deep impact on him. That's true if he lets it. He continually struggles. He can't move past everything. He actively pursues it no matter what. That remains constant even with the numerous threats targeting him.