10 Best Law & Order: Organized Crime Episodes, Ranked

Law & Order: Organized Crime helped prove how the franchise’s spin-offs can be just as impressive. But what are some of hte hsow’s best episodes?

SVU Organized Crime Cast

Law & Order: Organized Crime, now in its fourth season, began as a spin-off of Law & Order: SVU in April 2021. A decade after departing from the franchise, Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) returned in SVU‘s Season 22, Episode 9, “Return of the Prodigal Son,” much to the surprise of Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). After the death of his wife, Kathy, in a car bombing, Stabler joined the Organized Crime Control Bureau division of the NYPD, which investigates crime related to the mob and other crime syndicates.

Led by Sergeant Ayanna Bell (Danielle Moné Truitt), who is Stabler’s partner, the Organized Crime squad also includes technology specialist Jet Slootmaekers (Ainsley Seiger), undercover whiz Bobby Reyes (Rick Gonzalez), artificial intelligence expert Kyle Vargas (Tate Ellington), and the division’s newest detective, Samir Bashir (Abubakr Ali). Though they’ve lost and gained members in every season, Bell and Stabler lead a team that is smart, capable, and elegant as they solve some of New York’s most vicious and violent crimes.

10Ellen Burstyn and Christopher Meloni Shine in “A Diplomatic Solution”

  • Season 3, Episode 19
  • IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
  • Original Air Date: April 27, 2023

Elliot Stabler plays two distinct roles in this episode that draw a powerful juxtaposition. Stabler has to manage the security team for a UN diplomat, Madam Diya Laghari (Karen David), who doesn’t want to follow his rules, while he also deals with his mother, Bernie (Ellen Burstyn), who is back living in his apartment. When Bernie gets lost on her walk, Elliot sends Jet to hang out with her while he, Reyes, and Jamie Whelan (Brent Antonello) investigate an assassination attempt on Madam Laghari that sends them down into New York’s tunnel system.

The dynamic between Ellen Burstyn and Christopher Meloni is exceptional, and “A Diplomatic Solution” is one of their very best episodes. Burstyn showcases the delicate nuance of someone fluctuating between dementia and lucidity, and Meloni shines as a man who so deeply cares for his mother — and also doesn’t totally know how to help her. It’s an episode fans won’t soon forget.

9“Punch Drunk” Takes Jet Slootmaekers Undercover

  • Season 3, Episode 13
  • IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
  • Original Air Date: February 2, 2023
  •  “Punch Drunk” is the second episode of a three-episode arc related to Bell and the team finding the man who killed Bell’s former partner. The episode has all five members of the squad undercover in a fake bar — with a covert casino in the back — so they get wrapped up with the mobster Bell is sure is responsible for her partner’s death.
  • Jet gets to share some of the spotlight in the arc when she takes on her first undercover assignment, and Ainsley Seiger’s performance is luminescent. The moment when Jet has to prove to Bell that she’s capable of being undercover is particularly impressive, as is the way the episode wraps. The cliffhanger kept viewers waiting with bated breath for the conclusion of the arc.

    8Bobby Reyes Revisits His Past in “Behind Blue Eyes”

    • Season 3, Episode 5
    • IMDb Rating: 8.1/10
    • Original Air Date: October 27, 2022

    For several episodes in the back half of Season 2 of Organized Crime, Stabler was undercover with The Brotherhood, a criminal gang within the NYPD led by Frank Donnelly (Denis Leary). In “Behind Blue Eyes,” many of Stabler’s chickens come home to roost as he testifies in the case against them. Plus, the team picks up another case of corrupt cops, leaving Stabler wondering if someone is sending him a message.

    When Reyes realizes he has a connection to the new group of corrupt cops, more of his past is revealed, giving him one of the spotlights in the episode. Plus, SVU‘s Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) makes an appearance to work with some of the victims, and her interactions with Stabler are always enjoyable for viewers to watch.

    7NYPD Finally Takes Down Richard Wheatley in “Forget It, Jake; It’s Chinatown”

    • Season 1, Episode 8
    • IMDb Rating: 8.4/10
    • Original Air Date: June 3, 2021

    In the Season 1 finale, the biggest criminal of the season is finally captured and taken to arraignment. Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) and his children face the district attorney for corruption, money laundering, and drug dealing. Wheatley is also facing second degree murder charges for the murder of his father, Manfredi Sinatra, and of Elliot’s wife, Kathy Stabler. Wheatley, who has maintained for episodes that he knows all about Elliot Stabler’s “one true love,” finally meets Olivia Benson in the episode, telling Stabler, “Now I completely understand, she’s a knockout.”

    “Forget It, Jake; It’s Chinatown” ends on a serious cliffhanger. Olivia is lured to the hospital after Wheatley hacks Elliot’s text messages, and Liv, Elliot, and Bell end up in a shootout while trying to protect Wheatley’s estranged wife, Angela. Audiences hung on several moments from the episode all summer when it originally aired.

    6Elliot Stabler Risks His Cover for a Girl Named Rita in “The Good, the Bad and the Lovely”

    • Season 2, Episode 5
    • IMDb Rating: 8.5/10
    • Original Air Date: October 14, 2021″The Good, the Bad and the Lovely” continues a crossover with SVU that was set up in SVU‘s Season 23, Episode 5, “Fast Times @TheWheelHouse.” After Jet arrives at SVU to ask for help finding Rita Lasku, she ends up supporting the team on their sexual assault case before Benson and her squad help Bell and the OC team with a sex trafficking case. The Albanian KO, with whom Stabler is undercover as Eddie Wagner, throws a “charity event” with businessman Edmund Ross (Gregg Henry). Stabler gets himself hired on as security, and Bell attends as the date of her then-ally, Congressman Kilbride (Ron Cephas Jones), while Jet is on surveillance with Benson and Fin Tutuola (Ice-T).

      The episode also sees Stabler dealing with some home issues, namely that his youngest son, Eli (Nicky Torchia), and Stabler’s mother are struggling to find their groove living together — and Bernie thinks that Eli has been stealing her pills. Benson even stops by to see Bernie and Stabler, giving EO/Bensler fans a sweet moment between Elliot and Olivia near the end of the episode.

      5“Friend or Foe” is a Powerful Season Finale

      • Season 2, Episode 22
      • IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
      • Original Air Date: May 19, 2022

      The Season Finale of Organized Crime‘s second season is even more action-packed than the first one, as it wraps up several storylines that have been building for much of the season. OC‘s ability to build stories across several episodes is one of the things that makes it a stand-out show in the Law & Order franchise. “Friend or Foe” wraps up Bell and Stabler’s dealings with everyone from Congressman Kilbride to The Brotherhood, but not without several fights.

      Stabler has a particularly tough time in the episode as he confronts his father’s former partner, Gus, and learns that his father wasn’t who Elliot thought he was — a storyline that comes up again in Season 4 of the show. Stabler is also marked for death for at least the second time in as many years and is forced to watch as Frank Donnelly, whom Stabler was building a friendship with even as he was investigating him as part of The Brotherhood, takes his own life instead of coming in when the rest of The Brotherhood is arrested. The episode is powerful and devastating, all at the same time.

      4“The Christmas Episode” is Huge for Bensler Fans

      • Season 2, Episode 9
      • IMDb Rating: 8.2/10
      • Original Air Date: December 9, 2021

      Another crossover with SVU, “The Christmas Episode,” picks up right where SVU‘s Season 23, Episode 9, “People vs. Richard Wheatley,” ended with the disappearance of Eli Stabler. The judge in Wheatley’s case declares a mistrial, thanks in part to the work of his defense attorney, former ADA Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza), who insists he is taking the case to protect Olivia Benson, among other reasons. Just as court is letting out, Stabler discovers that Eli has emptied out his grandmother’s medicine cabinet and is missing.

      When Eli calls Elliot in the wee hours of the morning, Stabler calls Benson, who joins him to pick Eli up in Fort Lee, NJ. Eli is panicked because the girl he was with the night before was dead when he woke up, and Stabler and Benson have to figure out how to help Eli, even though the case is out of their jurisdiction. “The Christmas Episode” is jam-packed with moments that EO/Bensler fans love, including when Stabler asks Benson to join his family for their Christmas get-together, an event which is ruined when it’s not Benson but Bell who shows up with some bad news about Wheatley: he’s free.

      3“The Last Supper” is Chock Full of Stabler Family Drama

      • Season 4, Episode 4
      • IMDb Rating: 8.3/10
      • Original Air Date: February 1, 2024Season 4 of Organized Crime has Stabler dismantling what he knows about his family — and thus himself — and “The Last Supper” is incredibly effective at contrasting Stabler’s home life with his work life. Barred from supporting his team as they spend the night protecting a witness because he was undercover on the case, Stabler is on edge in his own apartment when his brothers, Randall (Dean Norris) and Joe Jr. (Michael Trotter), join Elliot, Bernie, and Elliot’s children for a family dinner. It goes about as well as audiences assumed it would, especially when things go awry at the witness’s home and Elliot discovers that Randall has hidden his cell phone.

        By the end of the episode, two people are in the hospital and Stabler has been suspended. The action and suspense of the episode will have viewers gasping for breath, and both the family dinner and Stabler’s suspension set up the next several episodes beautifully.

        2“Sins of Our Fathers” is the Conclusion to an Incredible Arc

        • Season 4, Episode 8
        • IMDb Rating: 8.9/10
        • Original Air Date: March 21, 2024

        Still suspended and under investigation from IAB, Stabler has been working on a case in Westbrook that connects back to Rita Lasku, the young woman he saved from the Albanian KO gang only to lose her in Season 4, Episode 5, “Missing Persons.” Stabler and the OC team have partnered with Chief Meredith Bonner (Jennifer Ehle), who is devastated to discover that both her brother, Eric (Will Janowitz), and her father, Judge Clay Bonner (Keith Carradine, who absolutely nails evil in this arc), are involved in the murders they’re investigating. “Sins of Our Fathers” is the final episode of the arc, and the writers wrapped it up marvelously.

        While Stabler is dealing with the IAB investigation, his former Captain, Don Cragen (Dann Florek), shows up to support and discovers that the IAB investigator, Moses Warren (Malcolm Goodwin), was mentored by Gus, the former partner of Elliot’s father, who recently died by suicide, which Warren blames on Stabler. Bell must step in to keep Stabler on the force, and the high note of him receiving his badge and gun back is superbly contrasted with Stabler learning information about his father that completely changes his world.

        1“With Many Names” is Law & Order: Organized Crime’s Best Season Finale

        • Season 3, Episode 22
        • IMDb Rating: 8.6/10
        • Original Air Date: May 18, 2023

        The Season 3 finale of Organized Crime is as exciting as it is gut-wrenching, and it changes every member of the OC squad. “With Many Names” is the final episode in a four-part SVU crossover that began with SVU‘s Season 24, Episode 21, “Bad Things,” and included Organized Crime‘s Season 3, Episode 21, “Shadowërk,” and SVU‘s Season 24, Episode 22, “All Pain Is One Malady.” Benson and Stabler are dealing with an international revenge-for-hire crime ring that takes them to Ohio and has them working with the FBI.

        The crossover brings back Amanda Rollins as a psychology expert and has some EO/Bensler moments that fans are still talking about. The biggest moment, though, is the loss of Jamie Whelan, an OC squad member who had strong connections with each member of the team and was someone Stabler saw a lot of himself in. Whelan’s death has repercussions that ripple into the fourth season of the show, and Brent Antonello’s performance is complex and dynamic. “With Many Names” is easily Organized Crime‘s best finale so far, but Season 4’s episodes are setting the bar ever higher.

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