Friday, March 15, 2024

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - Chief Bonner Confronts the Ugly Truths of Her Family History in 'Original Sin'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 4.07 "Original Sin"

The squad backs up Stabler in pursuing a murder case outside of their jurisdiction as an unlikely ally provides a key piece of evidence. Bell works to find a way to get Stabler back on the job.

"Original Sin" was written by Liz Sagal & Bridget Tyler and directed by Juan J. Campanella

Despite being the Chief of Police, Meredith Bonner never operated with any true authority. Instead, that power resides entirely within her father. Judge Clay Bonner calls all the shots in Westbrook. His daughter fails to deliver the full message he wants to communicate to the community in the wake of these vicious murders. He wants the case to be closed. He presented a clear resolution. District Attorney Noah Cahill was a serial killer who ultimately took his own life after the nine bodies were discovered on the beach. The Chief knows that's not the extent of this crime. However, her father has the ability to just step into her job. He pushes her aside because she doesn't support his objectives. She has been kept in the dark for a long time. Her family history is shrouded in darkness. Long buried mysteries have been unearthed. The judge is try his best to cover it all up. And yet, Bonner is still hit with the ugly truth. She never truly knew what her family was capable of. That's striking. Her worldview is shaken. She's grateful for Stabler and the team. They provide support. However, this is ultimately her burden to carry because it's so immensely personal.

Bonner remembers Jessica Clark going missing. However, she doesn't recall that her brother Eric was dating her at the time. She never knew about his obsessive behavior that ultimately required police intervention. The judge has been covering up his son's behavior for a long time. Jessica was one of his earliest victims. He kept going. He always hunted nearby. That makes it easy for Vargas' program to pinpoint him as the prime suspect. Bonner doesn't want to believe it at first. She doesn't know her brother well enough to contradict the evidence the team has collected. He doesn't line up with the profile Stabler created for this killer. And yet, the truth still lines up. Eric was protected. No matter what he did his father would always clean up his messes. Bonner was shielded from the truth. She lived comfortably in her own bubble. It only burst after Stabler came to town. Now, she can't escape the truth. She sees it in her brother's eyes. It's terrifying when she confronts him. That's the only way to properly bring this case to a close. Even then, it requires unimaginable sacrifices.

Bonner feels that personal responsibility and pressure. This is her family at the heart of the story. Everyone relates to that drive. Bash has to leave the surveillance operation after a complication develops in his wife's pregnancy. Randall calls Stabler about moving Bernie into an assisted living facility. Stabler wants to be involved in that decision. Yet the family is already moving ahead without him. Similarly, he's concerned about the heroin left behind from the family dinner. He worries it signals more trouble ahead. That's all true. However, no one in the Stabler family is in immediate danger. Similarly, Stacy and the baby remain healthy. It was only scary for a moment. Everyone has time to address what's to come. That's not the same with Bonner and her family. Eric takes his latest victim. Stabler intervenes in the hopes of saving a life. Ultimately, he's the one taken. He offers a new victim for Eric to cleanse. Stabler understands the messages. Eric has still twisted their meaning. It results in Bonner having to shoot her own brother. It's the first time she has drawn her weapon. She does so in order to stop a killer from inflicting more damage.

This isn't the end of the trauma though. The hour closes with Vargas identifying the first victim on the beach. It's actually Bonner's mother. That's yet another layer added onto this mystery. Every aspect of her life is consumed with this turmoil. No stone can go unturned. This is her reality now. She can't deflect any longer. Stabler provides answers and clarity. He is a reliable partner throughout this whole chaos. That comes while his professionalism is being questioned. Yes, the police should have a strenuous procedure to follow when an officer assaults a child. Stabler reacted after Bell was shot. She's on the mend. And yet, Warren is pressing the entire team hard about Stabler's own pattern of behavior. It mirrors his father's. That's unavoidable. That informs everything he has ever done on the job. Stabler always wanted to be a cop. He put in the work to make a difference. However, Warren idolized the former partner of Stabler's father. An Internal Affairs detective is trying to avenge a dirty cop. That's an inherent contradiction. One that makes him the adversary worth targeting. Stabler doesn't want to engage with the process. And yet, it also provides insight he's unwilling to address. He too would rather avoid the pain of the past. He can't escape it any more than Bonner can. It must be dealt with fully now before any more lives are lost in the process. Stabler doesn't face the same pressure. The parallels are still there though.