Friday, January 26, 2024

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - Stabler Investigates After an Officer Reaches Out for Help in 'Deliver Us From Evil'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 4.02 "Deliver Us From Evil"

After a deadly bombing claims the life of a spiritual leader, Stabler meets with an officer who's convinced the crime is part of a larger conspiracy. Tensions rise within the task force as Jet struggles to get her team on board with Vargas' program. Stabler welcomes his older brother to town.

"Deliver Us From Evil" was written by Will Pascoe & Bridget Tyler and directed by Jonathan Brown

The bombing of a mosque and its adjacent community center is immediately viewed as a hate crime. That assumption has plenty of history to back it up. Several different state and federal agencies respond. It doesn't immediately have an organized crime connection. And yet, the story offers misdirection from the start. At first, it's a kid spraying hate speech on the front of the building. It's still absolutely despicable. He has no qualms about doing so either even though the message isn't his specifically. He simply created the incentive structure to graffiti anything for the right price. He completed the job. Then, a bomb went off. He survived the blast. Five people inside the building were killed. That included the leader who caught him in the act. That was the true target. It takes the span of the episode for everyone to believe the task force is the appropriate team to investigate. Even then, they benefit from resources provided by other units. Stabler has a reputation. He's earned it after many years on the job. He's allowed to roam freely trusting his instincts to do what's right.

Of course, the new A.I. system questions Stabler's past decisions. The task force is required to conduct reviews at the end of their cases. The data is meant to convey how things could have been done differently. The program suggests Stabler's criminal informant didn't have to die. That fate happened because Stabler stopped the truck. He didn't want to risk the vehicle running over a crowd of people. Vargas states that the people would have gotten out of the way. He doesn't know that for sure. As such, it's easy for Stabler and Reyes to dismiss the findings. They don't need a computer telling them how to do their jobs. It can't know all they have experienced. They can't be replaced that easily. It's still a valuable tool. It's helpful when it comes to narrowing down the search for cell phone signals that were only on at certain times. That doesn't lead to an arrest. It showcases how organized this new operation is. An extensive cover-up is happening for a reason The task force just needs to uncover that motive.

Stabler forms an immediate connection with Officer Bashir. That extends partially from their former military service. They know what it's like to be on the battlefield in a war zone and to police the streets of New York City. In this job, they have to rely on people. They need people to see and nurture the greatness within them. Bashir is grateful for all the mosque gave him after returning home. He wants to honor those lost by uncovering the truth. Stabler trusts Bashir's instincts. He isn't forthcoming with everything. He's still taking a risk by breaking his chain of command to convince Stabler and Bell to investigate. That allows Stabler to reunite with an old friend. The show needs to lean on its own emotional strengths. However, it's also worthwhile when the narrative delves deep into the connections Stabler formed during his many years on SVU. He remains traumatized by Kathy's murder. He only reaches out to Warner once he needs a reason to view the attack differently. He also uses the moment to finally share his appreciation for all she has done for him. It's not enough but it's all he can manage right now. He's barely kept afloat by the job. That provides him with purpose even though it distracts him from other aspects of life.

That includes Stabler's family. He calls his brother Randall because their mother was asking for him. Once he arrives though, Bernie doesn't know why Stabler reached out. Someone always needs to look after her. She doesn't want to be a burden to her family. However, her family is more than willing to support her no matter what. They don't view her as difficult. Stabler cares for her when she needs it the most. He obviously has a tense relationship with Randall. His brother has never been mentioned before. Bell and Jet didn't even know about him. Stabler wants to keep his family struggles private. They impact his work. He tries to ensure they don't. He remains distracted. He comes home late at night. That disrupts his family. He barely survives a targeted bombing. The police got close to the truth. And then, it was destroyed. It's devastating. It offers no clarity. Stabler and Randall don't know what they'll do next. They are together as a family though. That has the potential to offer healing even though Randall sees his brother following the same path as their father. That led to destruction once. History seems to be repeating itself. Of course, that's an outsider's perspective from someone who hasn't dealt with Stabler in awhile. Things have the potential to change. Stabler just has to be willing to let others in and not always use work to deflect.