Thursday, February 2, 2023

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - The Task Force Relies on Jet's Remarkable Skills in a New Way in 'Punch Drunk'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 3.13 "Punch Drunk"

Stabler and Teddy Silas hatch a plan to turn the club into an indispensable venue for Murphy's illegal dealings. Jet blurs the lines between real life and her undercover persona. Bell tries to convince Thurman to take her investigation seriously.

"Punch Drunk" was written by Juliet Lashinsky-Revene and directed by Brenna Malloy

Jet has been a dependable member of the Organized Crime Task Force since its inception. In addition to Stabler and Bell, she has been the only regular presence in this unit. It has seen a lot of turnover across three seasons. That was always to ensure the focused remained on Stabler and the criminals he was hunting. However, this season has expanded that focus a little bit. It wants to share the love with the whole ensemble. And so, the task force now has to rely on Jet in a new way. She can always be counted on to provide technical support. Eamon Murphy wants to run a deep background check on everyone who works at The Bluff. Jet can easily create those false online identities to fool even the sharpest criminal. That's nothing new for her. Undercover work isn't either. She is as comfortable doing that as everyone else on the squad. However, her mission with Seamus is something new entirely. She is tasked with forming an emotional connection. She has to get close to him in order to find whatever information he accidentally slips. It's meant to play out over a longer time frame. It's not an immediate mission where she can get in and out. She has to commit to a cover and be fine with the emotional manipulation. Bell worries about Jet. She wonders if Jet can handle the job. Jet was the detective who found a way into this criminal organization. Stabler still carries out his own moves. His relationship with Murphy is built on professional necessity. He wants to make himself indispensable to his criminal operation. That's a slow burn as well. One where Stabler has to know when to stand firm with his convictions. He also has to fall in line with Murphy's expectations so he doesn't grow suspicious of this new partnership. It's very delicate. It's a skill Stabler has showcased on a number of occasions. In fact, Jet is right to point out she is ultimately reprimanded for doing something that isn't as bad as the behavior Stabler has committed. He has kissed targets of his investigation before. It's suddenly different when Jet does so. With Jet though, it comes across as an emotional appeal instead of a tactic to gather evidence. People fear she is losing objectivity. It's better to pull her from this mission. She can continue to be of service to the investigation. It just can't be in the field under this particular cover. Jet sets out to prove everyone wrong. That requires Bell to be honest about why this investigation matters more personally to her. Not everyone in the task force knows Murphy killed her former partner. She carries that vendetta. It almost blinds her to the actual merits of the investigation. When Jet notices Murphy wearing a police ring, it's all Bell can focus on. She has the evidence needed to make her case. Her boss is simply preventing her from doing so. That mentality then trickles down to infect the detective she needs the most to make this case.

Seamus' gift of a necklace is used as evidence against Jet's credibility. When every either detail of her undercover identity is stripped away, that piece still remains. She wears it around the office. It's actually a gift she appreciates. Moreover, she senses that Seamus doesn't want to be part of this criminal life any longer. He's been forced into it because of a debt he owes. He can never be free until he pays it off. That includes killing a guy simply because Murphy orders it. Jet demands honesty from Seamus. She gets so close to him. She saves a life in the process. That's a good and noble gesture. She's still reprimanded for how far she went to achieve that goal. And then, the chaos that erupts in the aftermath disrupts everything she built. In the midst of Murphy buying into the club as a safe space to do business, it's targeted by the same man he wanted dead. Seamus immediately sees how he too is marked for death for failing to follow through on that order. Jet is as well because she has been glued to his side in his last few interactions with Murphy. Seamus wants to save Jet from that fate. In doing so, she is forced to reveal her identity. It's all because a wig falls off at the most inappropriate time. Jet makes a choice. She declares herself as a cop instead of trying to find another excuse for wearing a wig. The conversation still revolves around just how genuine the emotions are on both sides of this relationship. Do they actually have feelings for one another? Neither of them have the time to truly process that question. Jet has a job to do. She can't get distracted. She thinks quickly. She has those skills. In the field, they are untested. What she does in the garage leads to her being thrown into a trunk. She calls Bell. She requires backup. Bell is on the other end and will know something has just happened to one of her detectives. It's a constant narrative of the tables being turned. At one moment, Jet has the upper hand because she is playing Seamus for information. And then, everything suddenly shifts. All it takes is her being distracted for a second. He takes advantage of that and disarms her. He could use her presence as a cop to earn good will with Murphy. He could expose this entire scheme. Murphy could escape accountability for his crimes all over again. The pattern will continue. It all depends on how Seamus will respond. He has options for how he wants to get out of this life. That's all that he cares about according to Jet. Her life hangs in the balance. That's the position she finds herself in. That means Bell is once again faced with the possibility of a fellow officer dying. She has saved many lives. She has lost several too. That all weighs on her. And now, she has the added pressure of an Internal Affairs investigation looking into her simply because Thurman is confused by her turning down his job.