Thursday, January 5, 2023

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - Stabler Finally Unburdens Himself While Jamie Goes Undercover in 'Trap'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 3.10 "Trap"

When an informant comes to Stabler desperate for help, the task force sets their sights on a dangerous gang making their mark on New York. Jamie goes undercover, but soon realizes he may be in over his head. Bell meets her new boss.

"Trap" was written by Emmy Higgins and directed by John Polson

Stabler isn't good with endings. That's the profound proclamation he makes when he finally unburdens himself in therapy. He has long been told that he needs to speak with a professional to address his issues. He has always been reluctant to do so. He has long seen therapists as searching for a reason to take him off the job. He can't allow that to happen. That means he always has his guard up. That doesn't have to be what this professional relationship is like. He can really grow a lot if he simply talks about his behavior from across his entire life. When he makes that statement about endings, it's clearly an attempt to further offer more depth to his sudden departure from the SVU squad over a decade ago. This show offered an explanation as to why he left and what he's been doing in the years since. Kathy's murder forced him to embrace something new entirely. He has found purpose in the Organized Crime Task Force. He is good at his job. He's still frequently a burden to those around him because he is so impulsive. He operates with a sense of righteous arrogance. He is an incredible detective. His instincts are always right. He knows exactly how to hold these criminals accountable. He makes a difference in this city. That attitude doesn't allow him to make friends easily. And now, he projects the task force as being his new family. His children are now grown. They don't need him the same way they once did. They don't depend on his job for security. Now, it has to be something Stabler loves doing. The work has always been a priority for him. It's been the only constant in his life. It doesn't have to define everything he does. Putting in the work may help him come to these realizations. Everyone will be better served if he is honest with who he is and what possibilities await him. He simply has to be genuine. That may be difficult for him. The new story arc that kicks off in this episode is just the beginning of this story potentially. It's building to something meaningful. Of course, the show will always offer stability to Stabler even if he doesn't totally deserve it. That's the friction that comes from wanting him to be held accountable while also having to inherently trust him as a good detective making a difference.

Meanwhile, Jamie receives his first undercover assignment. He happened to be good at drag racing in his youth. The task force now requires those skills in order to find the wife of one of Stabler's informants. Stabler has many people throughout the city he can go to for information now. That's what the work currently requires from him. He has to always know what's happening on the street level. However, a new outfit of Cubans from Miami are moving in. They hope to be the new purveyors of the drug trade in New York City. The identity of the boss is shrouded in mystery as well. That's an interesting decision. The show is more than comfortable letting people exist solely as criminals. That's how they are positioned in these stories. The subsequent arc is about how the task force breaks up their operation despite their best efforts to evade the law. That has been the overall pattern with every story so far. And so, it's unique that parts are being withheld at this early stage. No one knows what the scope of this story could ultimately become. That is probably true-to-life as well. How an investigation starts may not accurately represent the scope of the criminal scheme the detectives uncover. The police have to think quickly. Jamie proves himself as being able to adapt on the fly. He makes himself seem desirable to this new criminal organization. He has to prove his worth even if that means ditching his wire and losing his colleagues as they trail him. He needs to be seen as good at this job without his loyalty being questioned. All of that has to quickly be told in this episode. That hard work must be done now so that he can become a part of the inner circle that reveals the true extent of the criminal activity. It's all played as a cliffhanger with Jamie going rogue with no backup. However, it's also a smart play that invites everyone in. It's dangerous. It probably won't amount to any immediate concerns though. It's simply a new way to showcase Jamie's skills. He's still new in the squad. The show has to develop him. It just makes for a mostly lackluster episode where the stakes are being established with no rush to get to the heart of the issues.