Fall TV Preview

Law & Order: SVU Spinoff Burning Q: What 'Devastating Personal Loss' Will Stabler Experience in Organized Crime?

Law and Order SVU Spinoff Stabler Death Loss Organized Crime

To quote the formidable Olivia Benson: Call a bus, because it looks like someone from the SVU-verse may soon be dead.

On Tuesday, NBC announced that the newest Law & Order spinoff Organized Crime would air Thursdays at 10/9c, directly following SVU. (Go here to see the full Fall 2020 line-up.) The newest offshoot of Dick Wolf’s long-running franchise was ordered to series in March and features SVU alum Christopher Meloni reprising the character of Elliot Stabler.

In addition to the show’s timeslot, the Peacock net also offered up a tantalizing new detail in the series’ official logline: Apparently, Stabler “returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss.”

Of course, we immediately assembled in the squad room and started piecing together clues, trying to figure out to whom that loss may refer. There’s a good chance it’s either Stabler’s wife, Kathy — from whom we now know Elliot is divorced — or one of his 13 five kids: Maureen, Kathleen, Dickie, Elizabeth or Eli.

SVU had an abrupt Season 21 finale in April, after the COVID-19 outbreak shut down television production in New York City. As TVLine exclusively reported soon after, the plan was for Kathy and one of the Stabler children to show up in the planned (and now scrapped) finale. Showrunner Warren Leight later revealed that “We were going to see Kathy Stabler come back, very upset — her son has been rolled by a team of ne’er-do-wells and may have been drugged.”

In addition to Stabler’s traumatic personal life, the logline hints that the spinoff will address widespread public protests of racist acts performed by police departments all over the United States. The synopsis reads: “The city and police department have changed dramatically in the decade he’s been away, and he must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning.” This jibes with what Leight said in a Hollywood Reporter podcast: “Presumably, our cops will still be trying to do the right thing but it’s going to be harder for them and they’re going to understand why it’s hard for them.”

The last part is even more cryptic: “Throughout the series, we will follow Stabler’s journey to find absolution and rebuild his life, while leading a new elite task force that is taking apart the city’s most powerful criminal syndicates one by one.”

Absolution for his past, less-than-exemplary decorum as a police officer? For his role (imagined or otherwise) in the aforementioned “devastating personal loss?” What’s your guess? Hit the comments below with your theories about Stabler in Organized Crime