You can take the Stabler outta SVU, but as this week’s Law & Order: Organized Crime proves, you can’t take the SVU outta Stabler.
This universal truth comes to light when the sex-trafficking ring that SVU‘s Benson & Co. helped pinpoint in the first half of this week’s crossover becomes the object of Elliot’s obsession in the second half of this week’s crossover. (Read the SVU recap here.) And with good reason: The illicit operation is luring unsuspecting young Albanian girls to the United States by dangling modeling careers in front of them… and then turning them into sex slaves/diner waitresses/captives once they arrive. And the Albanian in charge of the whole shebang? Flutura Briscu.
Pretending he can’t get enough of Flutura, Stabler acts like a lovesick horndog and gains entrance into the house where she’s keeping all of the girls. He sweet-talks his way into a gig working “security” at the next party where rich dudes will pay for the young ladies, then sneaks around upstairs and locates the copy of The Count of Monte Cristo that he gave Rita, another Albanian waitress. But she’s nowhere to be found, and he fears the worst.
On the night of the party, SVU’s Benson and Tutuola Organized Crime’s Slootmaekers and Narcotics’ Brewster watch via surveillance van; Bell is inside, thanks to Congressman Kilbride bringing her as his plus-one, as is Stabler. After he determines how the scheme is going down, Elliot gives the team outside the go-ahead to storm the party. But then he sees Rita and tries to get her out, she freaks, and Stabler winds up in yet another room full of suspicious guys with guns. Thanks to Bell, though — who looks STUNNING in an iridescent gown, by the way — he escapes. And so does Flutura, thanks to Stabler giving her a literal piggyback ride off a balcony to the sidewalk below.
And when Stabler sees Rita being taken away in a car, he steals a delivery guy’s motorbike and follows the vehicle until he’s able to make the car crash and save Rita. She’s scared, totally not understanding what’s going on, until Stabler explains that he’s a cop and that her young son is safe and in Interpol custody in London. She’s very grateful; he calls in the crash and then runs off.
Back at the boxing gym, the Albanians wonder how things could’ve gone so wrong. That’s easy, a disheveled Flutura says as she stands in the doorway: Their organization has a mole.
Elsewhere, Bernie is sure that Eli stole some of her Valium — and he did. (Side note: Oh noooooo, Eli! Olivia Benson did NOT deliver you in a CAR WRECK in order for you to throw your life away!) Though Eli and his friend are planning to sell the pills, the friend convinces him to sample the merchandise and “take the edge off.” So he does.
At the end of the episode, Liv is at Stabler’s apartment to check in when she hears something spill in the bathroom. And when Eli comes out, she notices some pills on the floor — they realize that Bernie wasn’t wrong. Eli is already gone when this happens; Stabler says he’ll stay the night and talk to his son in the morning.
As he walks Liv out, she says she thinks it’s time for him to come home. He reassures her that he’s being careful, but she touches his cheek as she clarifies, “I mean before Eddie Wagner takes over, and Elliot Stabler is nowhere to be found.”
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!