Spoilers ahead for the Season 4 premiere of Law & Order: Organized Crime.
Months passed in the Law & Order universe by the time Organized Crime's fourth season picked up in the 2024 TV schedule, but the task force was still struggling with the death of Whelan from the end of the Season 3 finale. All of them navigated their grief differently; Bell is working to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, Stabler threw himself into undercover work, and Jet and Reyes... well, they're having an affair. Danielle Moné Truitt spoke with CinemaBlend about how spread thin Bell is after all these months, and I'm already anxiously awaiting Stabler finding out about Jet and Reyes.
Bell has a whole lot on her plate due to the fact that Whelan still hadn't been replaced months after his death, so the team has been short a detective in the office ever since the spring, and Stabler evidently wasn't on hand to help Bell, Jet, and Reyes on that front while he was undercover. I asked Danielle Moné Truitt about how spread thin Bell is to start Season 4, and she shared:
I think she's very spread thin, because not only is there no replacement for Whelan, but Stabler left and did an undercover job. [laughs] So it's just been her, Jet, and Reyes for the last couple of months. And I think that's what pushes her to bring in this AI guy, because she can't do everything on her own. I think that's what pushes her to bring him in for help. And of course, everybody has their opinions about it. Everybody has opinions about what the leader does, but leaders have to do what leaders have to do. And I think she's just doing the best she can with what she has.
The Season 4 premiere revealed that Jet is all-in on the tech that the AI consultant has brought to the team, while Stabler is (unsurprisingly) more hesitant and Reyes seems to be applying the rules of Terminator to real life. This is far from the first time that Bell has faced some opposition from members of her unit, and it should be interesting to see how long it takes the newcomer to win over Stabler and Reyes, if that ever totally happens.
Of course, there are some personal issues that need addressing when it comes to Reyes and Jet. At the end of Season 3, Reyes was a happily married family man, and the final credits rolled not too long after Jet dealt with a harrowing abduction when romantic feelings started to cloud a case for her. The final scene of the Season 4 premiere featured Reyes dropping by her apartment, and it was clear that the affair had been going on for some time. I asked Truitt if Bell is in on their secret, and she shared:
Oh, yeah. You can't keep secrets from Bell. [laughs] She finds out. I mean, she knows her team. She knows these people. They've spent lots of time together, intimate time together, so she can tell something's going on. And at some point, she will have a conversation with Jet about it.
As a fan of Jet and Bell's dynamic, I'm looking forward to whenever this conversation happens. Hopefully it'll be sooner rather than later; Bell had a lot of time with just Jet and Reyes working under her, so she's had more time to observe them than Stabler has. And there was a moment in the premiere that suggested Stabler was already catching on, which made me realize just how much I want that to happen on screen. As Danielle Moné Truitt said when she shared the cast reactions to the Jet/Reyes twist, it's getting messy on OC!
Why I Need Stabler To Find Out About The Affair
Stabler has always had a unique role in the task force. While he doesn't have the highest rank, he's the oldest cop in the unit with more than a decade on the job in the Manhattan SVU before he went on to spend years as an NYPD detective in Rome. (No, I'm still not entirely clear on how that works.) Those SVU years are actually what have me crossing my fingers that we get to see Stabler find out about Jet/Reyes as well as any fallout. He knows a little something about getting too close with a coworker! For that, we have to dig into SVU lore a bit.
Sure, Stabler and Benson never had a physical affair back in the day, but I hope fans can all agree that Kathy had a point when she was uncomfortable about how close her husband was with his partner. The contents of The Letter back in OC Season 2 really just made me sad for Kathy and mad at Stabler more than anything else. Whether you read Benson and Stabler's relationship as intensely platonic, romantic, familial, or somewhere in between, they were definitely wrapped up in each other more than average coworkers.
Did he have any kind of physical affair with his partner, a la Jet and Reyes? Definitely not. Emotional affair? I think there's plenty of evidence for it, and Cragen had problems with Benson and Stabler on SVU when they had each other's backs no matter what lines were crossed on the job. So, with Stabler more self-aware about his feelings for his former partner as of the end of Season 3, how will he react to Jet and Reyes if he finds out?
On the one hand, I imagine that he could have some degree of understanding for two detectives getting too close for comfort based on his own experience. On the other hand, he never physically had an affair when he was with Kathy, as they were separated when he shared that kiss with Dani Beck. Reyes has crossed that line with Jet. Throw in Stabler's tendency to be protective of Jet, and I just really hope that Organized Crime takes the time to explore his reaction. Perhaps he could have a conversation with Reyes while Bell has hers with Jet?
I do think that the Season 4 premiere included a moment that tipped Stabler off that something is going on between the two detectives. In the second half of the episode – or around the 29:45 mark if you're rewatching the episode via a Peacock Premium subscription – Jet puts her hand on Reyes' shoulder before walking away. Stabler clearly clocked Jet's action as well as Reyes' reaction as atypical.
Of course, Stabler has some family drama to deal with in the new season, so he may not have time to deal with any messiness with Jet and Reyes. His mother called out for Randall at the end of the premiere, and Breaking Bad's Dean Norris was cast to play the oldest of the Stabler brothers. Norris will debut as Randall in the next episode, and you can see a first look at him in the promo below:
All things considered, new showrunner John Shiban already has a lot in the works for his first season in the top Organized Crime job! Danielle Moné Truitt shared what changed and what didn't with the former Breaking Bad producer on board as showrunner, and I for one already was getting some Breaking Bad-esque vibes from the Season 4 premiere with a smattering of humor to go with the intense drama.
See what's next for the task force with new episodes of Law & Order: Organized Crime on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following Law & Order: SVU – which just introduced a new detective to start Season 25 – at 9 p.m. and Law & Order – which just wrote out a series regular – at 8 p.m.