'Things Are Just A Little Off': Law And Order: Organized Crime Star Talks Navigating Grief And Stabler's Focus In Season 4

 Christopher Meloni as Stabler and Danielle Moné Truitt as Bell in Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 premiere.
Christopher Meloni as Stabler and Danielle Moné Truitt as Bell in Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 premiere.

Law & Order: Organized Crime returns in the 2024 TV schedule, but the fourth season won't just start fresh after where last season ended. The finale back in the spring delivered the tragic death of Detective Jamie Whelan, played by Brent Antonello. While months have passed in the OC universe between Whelan's death and the Season 4 premiere, actress Danielle Moné Truitt shared how that loss will still be affecting the team... and Stabler's focus.

The third season finale (available streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription) featured Stabler telling Benson (appearing as part of an SVU crossover) that he was going back undercover, while Bell, Jet, and Reyes would presumably return to their regular jobs. When I spoke with Danielle Moné Truitt, who plays Sergeant Bell, about Season 4 of OC, I asked if the team is still dealing with Jamie Whelan's death, even months later. The actress shared:

Yes, we definitely are. So when you see us in the first episode, you're gonna see that we are all still dealing with his death and just the loss. Not having him there, his desk is still just empty. Nothing has been changed on it since he was last at that desk. Stabler is just coming back from doing an undercover job that he took so he could kind of... not really deal with it, but cope with the grief of losing him so abruptly. And then you see Jet and Reyes trying to navigate the office without him being there. They were all very close. And then Bell is helping the team navigate their loss by kind of just being honest with them about where they're at.

Both Organized Crime and SVU have shown time and again that Stabler isn't exactly great at dealing with grief and loss, while Jet and Reyes have lost a friend and peer. Bell evidently has to help everybody navigate their grief while also dealing with her own. We can only hope that Stabler doesn't push her to her breaking point again, after being undercover for so long! Truitt continued:

In Episode 1, you see her talking to Stabler. He comes back from this undercover job, and in true Stabler fashion, he's like, 'I'm back.' And he's very focused on like, 'This happened, and I need you. Help me. Blah, blah, blah.' And she's like, 'Whoa, chill out. You haven't been here for the last two months. You haven't been able to help them navigate their grief. So you're gonna have to just slow down a bit, give us a second.' So they have that conversation or whatever. And then Bell, her coping mechanism is to fix what's wrong, so she's like, 'We lost Jamie. What can I do to change things so that that never happens again?'

As Danielle Moné Truitt said, Christopher Meloni's character attempting to focus on the new case more than anything else is "true Stabler fashion." If there's anybody on OC who can get Stabler to slow down and listen, that person would be Bell, but getting cooperation from him is never a sure thing. So, what methods will she use to try and make changes and prevent another loss like Whelan? Truitt previewed:

She brings in this AI tech guy that helps with a new form of policing that's supposed to be more accurate than just our normal police officers using our own instinct, if that makes any sense. There's this whole program that you do that's like, 'Okay, what's the best way to go about this for the best result?' Bell is very results driven. I think that's kind of how she copes with these kinds of situations. You'll see things are just a little off, a little bit, when the season begins.

Considering all of the trouble caused by Shadowërk in Season 3 (and the crossover episode with SVU), it should be interesting to see how using new technology goes over with the task force. Things will be "a little off," but it remains to be seen if that will be the case in the long term. Law & Order: Organized Crime recruited Breaking Bad and The X-Files alum John Shiban as new showrunner, and Danielle Moné Truitt only had good things to say about him as the Season 4 boss.

Law & Order: Organized Crime returns on Thursday, January 18 at 10 p.m. ET for the Season 4 premiere, called "Memory Lane." According to the episode description, Stabler will have to face changes at home and at work as he surfaces from his latest undercover gig, while Bell hires the AI advisor and Jet and Reyes struggle with the death of Whelan.

As usual, OC closes a full night of L&O action in primetime. Law & Order, which welcomes a new detective in Season 23 following the departure of Jeffrey Donovan as Frank Cosgrove, returns on January 18 at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the premiere of Law & Order: SVU's milestone 25th season at 9 p.m., all on NBC.