Friday, April 19, 2024

REVIEW: 'Law & Order: Organized Crime' - Stabler Is Dealt Another Devastating Loss on the Job in 'Crossroads'

NBC's Law & Order: Organized Crime - Episode 4.10 "Crossroads"

The team works to take down a large-scale drug operation disguised as a local honey farm. In Stabler's absence, Randall searches for Joe Jr. on his own and ends up in a bind.

"Crossroads" was written by Amy Berg & Davon Briggs and directed by Jon Cassar

Stabler was willing to dispose of a body to prove his loyalty to Angus and Mama. He injured one of Angus' loyal soldiers before he could be outed as a mole. That soldier survives. Instead, Stabler has to bury a member of his own team. Sam was killed. Angus' group wasn't responsible. In fact, they wish to present as an honorable group just trying to remind veterans of their valor after returning home. But now, they've made a deal to secure their financial prosperity. It was the only way to keep the family honey farm afloat. So now, Angus and his unit have become drug dealers. That's the heart of their business now. The honey is nothing more than a front. It's a deal that has compromised Angus. It has changed his morals. Mama has always been tentative. They never would have buried the body of a fellow soldier before. That's become the cost of doing business. Angus' troops have the expertise to handle this problem for their true boss. It's not a partnership as Angus proclaims. In fact, it now turns into all out war.

This case was always personal for Stabler. The intervention for Joey went horribly. And so, Stabler is trying to take down his supplier. The farm presented as such. The story has gotten much more complex. Angus isn't the villain he was initially presented as. He has still done bad things in the name of preserving his family's traditions. The refuge he provides isn't a prison. He doesn't seek to control what others can do. He saw no personal benefit from meetings and therapy. However, he recognizes it as a healing tool for many amongst his ranks. He doesn't stand in their way of going. That provides Stabler with easy access to get a message to his team. They are all equally devastated by Sam's death. They mourn his loss. He will never get to meet his unborn child. Sam joined the unit and immediately earned respect when he was nothing more than an officer. He rose through the ranks through his work with the team. They relied on him and grew close to his family. All of that has been destroyed. Joey's employers are to blame too. That makes this a battle of dueling loyalties for Stabler.

Stabler knows how to communicate when it's in the best interests of the job. He warns his team when danger is imminent. He needs them to act quickly to apprehend Hightower. His mission can't be compromised. Yet one individual on the compound makes Stabler as a cop. Trisha is also undercover. She's actually an ATF agent. Federal officials are already deeply involved in this case. She has spent months earning good will with Angus and Mama in the hopes of taking down her true target - Redcoat. That's the name bestowed upon the true villain. He doesn't show his face yet. He remains a mystery. When his operation is compromised, he has the organization to disappear everything completely and quickly. The wine business that employed Joey suddenly vanishes. Randall broke into the warehouse. He was arrested for trespassing. At least he saw the space as its purported business. When the cops arrive later on, it's completely empty. The only thing left behind is the blood stains of where Sam was killed. That further drives home the personal connections for Stabler. He's trying his best. However, he's not present for the people who need him the most right now. Instead, he's on assignment elsewhere under the belief that's what will truly lead to justice and accountability.

Moreover, Stabler connects with Angus' overall message. He hasn't had nightmares about his time in the military in years. He served as a marine. Then, he transitioned to a new job. He has served with honor for the NYPD as well. The professions don't contradict each other. He's not the enemy simply because he carries a badge. He seeks to honor Sam in death even though he can't go into detail about all he knows. He has to maintain his cover. That tasks him with talking veterans off the ledge. He deals with volatile individuals. One has just killed his entire family. He blacked out and left complete devastation in his wake. It was never something anyone could imagine him doing. It nevertheless did. People are skilled at hiding their demons. They have to reckon with them on their own. This job has taken a toil on Stabler. He remains committed. Plenty of questions still persist. How involved is Joey in this overall operation? Is he just an addict? Or is he responsible for murder? A war has now been declared between Angus and Redcoat. Their partnership is no longer working. They feel the need to kill the other to remain powerful and in control. That invites more danger to the situation. Meanwhile, law enforcement is caught in the middle trying to hold people responsible according to the rules of the criminal justice system.