Formerly on SVU, Elliot Stabler now stars in Law & Order: Organized Crime. Here are ways he is different, and ways he is the same.
Elliot Stabler made his long-awaited return to the Law & Order franchise in the SVU episode, “Return of the Prodigal Son.” The famed detective made his departure from the show in season 12 after an active shooter incident in the precinct.
Stabler had his own way of solving crimes and his own demons to face while on SVU. He now stars as the main character in Law & Order: Organized Crime. While the new show has started to answer long-awaited questions, fans can’t help but notice this isn’t the same Stabler they remembered. Dealing with new trauma, turmoil, and new turf, Stabler has changed a bit but still held on to some old tactics.
Same: Still Aggressive With Perps
Stabler’s habit of getting in perps’ faces put him in hot water a majority of the time. His old habit hasn’t gone away in the new show installment. Fans first get a look at his old ways when he interrogated a suspect in his wife’s car bombing. As Stabler rolls up his sleeves and pounces, Olivia is forced to hold him back. Just like old times.
In the new show, Stabler doesn’t let up. As Stabler joins the organized crime task force, they’re on the trail of the businessman and organized crime boss, Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott). Stabler has no problems getting up close and giving a few threats. But fans can tell that Stabler is reining in his more aggressive side.
Different: His Relationship With Benson
Fans have eagerly waited for Stabler and Benson to reunite and finally get closure. As Stabler made his return, fans noticed that something is off. Stabler is at first relieved to have Benson at his side when Kathy dies and in catching a suspect. As Benson makes appearances in Organized Crime, Stabler whistles a different tune.
In one episode, Stabler asks Benson to meet with him. Benson can easily tell that Stabler is not okay and that he’s suffering from PTSD and refuses help. Stabler even rejects the idea that he has PTSD and firmly tells Benson to back off. Their once-close relationship is in tough terrain as Stabler refuses to let her in his new life.
Same: Dedicated To The Job
Stabler has always been praised for his dedication to the job and its victims. His new role in Organized Crime is no different than when he was in SVU. This time instead of different cases, Stabler is dedicated to one after the attack on Kathy and her death that leads him to Wheatley.
With every new shred of evidence, Stabler dedicates himself 100% to find a tie to Wheatley. When a young teen overdoses on medication passed through one of Wheatley pharmacies, Stabler makes it his mission to unearth evidence.
Different: The Family Tension
Since his days in SVU, Stabler has always butted heads with his children. His dedication to his job and rule of not bringing work home led to a tense environment. Even years after SVU, there’s still family tension but in a different circumstance.
His children are all grown up now and have lived a majority of their new life in Italy alongside Kathy and Stabler. With Kathy’s case and subsequent death, fans can tell that Stabler’s children see their father in a different light than before. Instead of Stabler worrying for them, his children are the ones worried their father will go off the rails.
Same: Inability To Express Emotionally
Stabler was more known as the macho detective in SVU who often showed his fists and sheltered his emotions. Fans often saw Stabler refusing to tell Kathy what went on at work to save her from his gruesome reality. Even as Stabler confided in Olivia, there was always something held back.
In Organized Crime, Stabler’s inability to express himself emotionally is still evident but it takes a turn. With the turmoil surrounding Kathy’s death and case, Stabler shuts out everyone around him afraid that they will get hurt. Stabler also refuses to let his children hold an intervention to try and save him.
Different: He’s Broken & Lost
The death of Kathy sent Stabler into a downward spiral that he can’t get out of. Fans will see Stabler start to suffer from extreme PTSD, depression, and teeter the edge of a nervous breakdown. Stabler in Organized Crime is lost and broken as he tries to pick up the pieces of finding the one responsible for Kathy’s death, keeping his family together, and himself.
Throughout the episodes, fans see Stabler unable to sleep and stay up into the early hours rewatching CTV footage of the car explosion. When his children ask Benson for help staging an intervention, Stabler looks defeated but shuts down refusing to listen.
Same: Problems With Authority
Fans are aware that Stabler is no stranger to questioning his superiors and authority. It’s nice to know that this aspect of Stabler stayed in Organized Crime. In the first episode “What Happens in Puglia,” Stabler waltz through a courthouse to threaten Italian perps about their deceased suspect Sacha Lenski.
Stabler is then held back by his fellow detectives and has to go answer to his superior. His superior stands his ground saying Stabler can’t walk wherever he pleases and take control. Stabler’s actions could have destroyed what they’ve worked for. To Stabler is doesn’t matter as much if it leads to answers.
Different: His Feelings For Benson
Fans always inclined that Stabler thought more of Benson than a simple partner. His departure gutted Benson and she felt betrayed she wasn’t told in advance. The crossover episode and the new Organized Crime episodes have fans learning that Stabler has changed in his feelings for Benson.
When Fin gives the rundown on Olivia’s life, he focuses on the fact that she has had serious relationships. When catching up with Benson at the park, he looks with longing at Benson playing with Noah. At his almost intervention, he blurts that he loves Benson before realizing what he said and correcting himself.
Same: His Investigative Abilities
When it comes to notable detectives in television, Stabler gets a spot since his days on SVU. Stabler still has the chop of a good detective in Organized Crime. When it comes to Kathy’s case he realizes from CTV cameras that a couple was in the area taking selfies.
Stabler realizes that geotags in the area could help identify them. With new possible evidence, Stabler uncovers who detonated the car bomb. His smart thinking also helps his team discover why Whaeltey owns an ice cream company and how he transported the stolen vaccines.
Different: Stabler & His Team
The dynamics between Stabler and his team on Organized Crime has a different feel than what was seen in SVU. On his task force team, Stable isn’t the boss and is surpassed by Sergeant Bell (Danielle Monté Truitt). Despite being outranked, Stabler has more experience and acts on the same level as Bell.
It’s safe to say that Bell and Stabler are more partners than Bell is a superior. In SVU, Stabler always had to answer to someone like Cragen. With the tasks force team, Stabler has a bigger air of superiority and dominance that he didn’t have in SVU.
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