Thursday, September 22, 2022

REVIEW: 'Law & Order' Crossover Event - Benson, Stabler and Cosgrove Work Together to Stop a Terrorist in 'Gimme Shelter'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime Episode 3.01, Law & Order: SVU Episode 24.01 and Law & Order Episode 22.01 - "Gimme Shelter"

A young girl is shot and Cosgrove teams with Detective Jalen Shaw to track down her killer. Benson and Stabler assist and realize it's more than a typical homicide. McCoy and Price seek justice against an international crime ring, but complications threaten the case.

"Gimme Shelter - Part One" was written by Rick Eid & Gwen Sigan and directed by Jean de Segonzac
"Gimme Shelter - Part Two" was written by Rick Eid & Gwen Sigan and directed by Jean de Segonzac
"Gimme Shelter - Part Three" was written by Rick Eid & Gwen Sigan and directed by Alex Hall

The massive crossover event of the Law & Order franchise starts far away from New York City. It opens on the battlefields of Ukraine. Ava is running for her life with her family. Her parents are killed and she pretends to be dead to survive. The camera then transitions to her life in New York City. She is once again running. She's hoping to escape yet another dire situation. Detective Cosgrove happens to be the officer who responds. While leading the response, she is shot and killed. She is the first casualty of this event. Her death informs everything for Cosgrove. He was having lunch with his daughter as she expressed concerns over not feeling safe in the world. Those are absolutely valid and he refused to listen to her. She's worried about gun violence coming to her school. And then, someone her exact age is killed just down the street. Her father is involved with the crime. He sees the parallels. That's why he passionately fights for justice. It doesn't matter who he has to team with in order to get it. At first, it's Detective Jalen Shaw who is new to the homicide beat. As such, time is spent noting how this is the first time for him doing everything. He handles himself well. He is willing to risk his life in service to others. He still needs a seasoned veteran to pull him out of a dangerous situation. Cosgrove then has to work with Stabler and the Organized Crime unit. The suspect for Ava's murder happens to be the head of a criminal organization operating in the city. The SVU squad is also pulled in because sex trafficking is one of their prime businesses. Benson forms a strong bond with one young survivor who happened to be present during this fateful encounter. Nicole is reluctant to open up to Benson at first. In the end, she relies on Benson to feel safe and secure. That's the overall message of this three-hour event. It recognizes the extreme threats that loom in the world. Terrifying people are doing whatever they can to exploit the world's resources for their benefit. Meanwhile, it's up to a handful of noble individuals to do whatever it takes to hold them accountable for their actions. The story makes the pivot to domestic terrorism. Sirenko has a bomb that can topple a building anywhere in the city. The joint task force has to fight for the federal agents to take it seriously. The bomb still goes off. More lives are lost. The various shows are aware of that collective pain. It's used to channel emotional stakes for the characters. However, it also has much bigger ideas on its mind. It gets to the point where all of this becomes a proxy war between global superpowers. A Russian operative was responsible for the attack. It's more important to convict him for that crime than everything else that happened in the preceding hours.

All of this is rather quite messy. That's especially notable when Sirenko transitions from human trafficker to terrorist. Stabler notes how the criminal has no outspoken political views. Everything has always been about business. A threat to his bottom line is treated as the threat. He's not looking to make a statement. And yet, he carries a bomb. He targets a NATO conference. Leaders are speaking in support of the Ukrainian defense. This is all connected to showcase the importance of the average American citizen caring about what's happening in Eastern Europe right now. It simply becomes personal for the characters because of the people they lose along the way. Cosgrove gets attached because Ava was killed. He couldn't protect her. Stabler than loses his informant. Vince was willing to take risks. Stabler couldn't prevent his execution. And then, Rollins is shot while trying to protect Nicole. She is the only character who survives from a gunshot. Of course, it's up to the closing montage to confirm that. That will carry major repercussions for her moving forward. However, she survives. Ava and Vince weren't so lucky. Nor were the three people who didn't evacuate the building in time. All of this was in pursuit of Sirenko, who was constantly slipping away from law enforcement's fingers so easily. Even when the detectives had eyes on him, he had a way to escape. When he is finally captured, Stabler is the one who has to be talked down from abusing his power. That's still all too often an easy response. The people meant to be enforcing the rules are often the ones who abuse it. Stabler and Cosgrove appreciate each other. It's simpler to take their frustrations out on the prosecutors who fail to deliver the justice that's deserved. It's not for a lack of trying. Price and McCoy are more than willing to explore any option to secure a conviction. Maroun leads with compassion. She knows Nicole isn't able to testify. It's better for her to find safety right now. These emotions run hot because it's all so immediate. That remains a fantasy created for the benefit of these shows to focus. The trials begin shortly after the arrests are made. People channel that self-righteous anger to get what they want. Price is still powerless when it comes to saving Rublev from yet another bullet. Price, Cosgrove and Stabler all have parallel scenes where they are pleading with victims to stay alive. It's all futile. Price can't even go back on the deal he made with Sirenko. His punishment has to be good enough. That's as good as it's ever going to get. That could be a bleak outlook. And so, Cosgrove's narration closes out the event hoping to inspire despite these shortcomings. These individuals are necessary because they still do a lot of good in a world where so much bad occurs. It's daunting. Plenty of people are brave and willing to fight back. Their motives deserve to be challenged by their peers. That's the natural cost of doing business.

"Gimme Shelter - Part One": B
"Gimme Shelter - Part Two": A-
"Gimme Shelter - Part Three": B-