This One Thing Must Happen If Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 5 Doesn’t Happen

If Law & Order: Organized Crime doesn’t get a season 5, there is one thing that must happen for the series to come to a satisfying end.

Benson and Stabler in the snow in Law and Order: Organized Crimes

If Law & Order: Organized Crime ends after season 4 and there is no season 5, it needs to wrap up one of its most popular storylines. Since Law & Order: Organized Crime season 5 isn’t confirmed, storylines could be left unresolved after a last-minute cancellation. This lack of closure could lead to a frustrating and unsatisfying ending, especially if the series does not answer certain longstanding questions about several characters.

When Stabler first joined the Organized Crime Unit, Law & Order: SVU’s Olivia Benson was hurt and angry that Stabler had ghosted her for a decade, making it clear that a Stabler and Benson romance wouldn’t happen any time soon. Throughout Law & Order: Organized Crime’s run, Stabler has experimented with different relationship partners while reeling from his wife Kathy’s death and fighting his attraction to Benson. The series needs to resolve this romantic tension for any proposed ending to be satisfying.

Benson & Stabler’s Relationship Must Be Resolved Before Law & Order: Organized Crime Ends
It’s been an open-ended question for too long

Benson and Stabler in Law and Order: Organized Crime

Whether or not Benson and Stabler ultimately end up together, Law & Order: Organized Crime needs to resolve their relationship before the series finale. Benson and Stabler have been locked into a will they/won’t they loop for four years. Occasionally, a scene is promoted as a big step forward for the couple, yet little progress has been made. After teasing this couple for years, there needs to be some payoff at the end of the series. Otherwise, the showrunners risk alienating a portion of the franchise’s fanbase.

This doesn’t mean that Benson and Stabler necessarily have to have a happily-ever-after ending. A heartbreaking decision not to pursue a romance is better than no ending at all. After teasing this relationship for nearly half a decade, it would be more satisfying if it ended with the pair together, but at least there would be closure and a powerful goodbye scene if the writers chose to end the series with Benson and Stabler deciding not to go beyond friendship. That closure is the only way to create a satisfying ending to the series.

Benson & Stabler’s Relationship Was Put On The Backburner After Organized Crime’s Season 3 Finale
After promising developments, it went nowhere

Benson sits in her desk chair, leaning her jaw on her right hand and looks up at Stabler, who is sitting on the edge of her desk to her right. There is a glass window behind Benson and an American flag to her right. There is a gift box on her desk.

Benson and Stabler took the biggest step forward yet at the end of Law & Order: Organized Crime season 3. The two exchanged gifts in Benson’s office, with Stabler giving Benson a necklace with a compass charm that she has continued to wear on Law & Order: SVU season 25. Romance between the two seemed like a natural next step after Benson’s life was threatened and Stabler almost lost her permanently. Inexplicably, their relationship has been completely dropped after the intimacy of the Law & Order season finale crossover ending.

Benson and Stabler have barely interacted during Law & Order: Organized Crime season 4. They’ve left each other occasional voicemails and Stabler watched a press conference Benson participated in about missing teen Maddie Flynn. That press conference was the perfect set-up for a crossover in which Benson and Stabler’s relationship could have grown while he supported her search for Maddie and helped find her, yet no such thing happened. This frustrating lack of follow-up to the most intimate Benson/Stabler moment yet is an example of what the writers must not do with the relationship if the series is not given a season 5.

Why Law & Order: Organized Crime Might Not Get A Season 5
Ratings haven’t been as strong as hoped

The Law and Order Organized Crime Unit Season 4 has a meeting. Bell leans against a table on the left hand side of the room and Stabler stands on the right hand side of the table with Bashir. Vargas is on a computer on the left hand side of the table next to Jet and Shah sits perpendicular to them with her back to the camera

The other two Law & Order shows have been renewed but Law & Order: Organized Crime’s future is uncertain. The series’ longevity was on shaky ground prior to the writer’s strike, having been renewed for only half a season in 2023. Had the strike not delayed the start of all scripted television series, Law & Order: Organized Crime would have been a mid-season replacement. The fact that it was not renewed at the same time as its sister shows is not a good sign, especially considering that the series changed writers for the seventh time prior to the beginning of season 4.

Law & Order: Organized Crime’s ratings are typically lower than those of the other two series in the franchise. While it has made a small gain in overall viewership (via TV Series Finale), it has lost significant viewers in the 18-49 demographic, which is the key group for network programming. NBC could try changing the show’s time slot or transitioning it to streaming-only on Peacock before giving up, but there are no guarantees. The writers should consider how to wrap up Benson and Stabler’s story now so they can give the series a proper ending if it is canceled.

Can Benson & Stabler’s Romance Be Resolved In Law & Order: SVU?
It wouldn’t be the ideal situation

Benson in Law and Order: Organized Crime

Law & Order: SVU will continue for a 26th season, so theoretically, Benson and Stabler could continue to get closer even if Law & Order: Organized Crime is canceled. There are plot and logistical difficulties that make this idea undesirable. If Stabler continues working off-screen for the Organized Crime Unit, he’d only be able to appear sporadically on Law & Order: SVU. This would not be a satisfying way of resolving this relationship. It would be a repeat of the error made with Rollins, who was written out after a quickie wedding to Carisi and only makes occasional guest appearances.

The other option would be for Stabler to return to working at the Special Victims Unit. This would be an even more awkward solution because Benson would be his boss. It would undermine the theme of the show if the writers ignored the problematic power dynamics of a boss and subordinate dating. Stabler also wouldn’t be any better at following Benson’s orders than he is Bell’s, which would cause unnecessary strain in their relationship. Even if these problems could be solved, Benson’s family life is often backburnered, so her relationship with Stabler probably wouldn’t get much air time.

Transferring Benson and Stabler’s relationship to Law & Order: SVU won’t work. With Law & Order: Organized Crime’s future in doubt, the only way to answer the question of whether this couple will get their happily-ever-after is for the writers to answer it before the series finale. The writers need to start taking steps toward wrapping this relationship question up now so that they can provide a satisfying conclusion to the series if NBC declines to renew it for season 5.


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