Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×02 “Everybody Knows the Dice are Loaded” is a fun introduction to some new characters and the season’s big casino case, and the episode accomplishes this while reminding us why we loved the existing team in the first place. It’s setup — but setup with a purpose. And, as is usually the case, all of it ends leaving you wondering, “wait. It’s been an hour? That’s it?”
The framing isn’t always perfect. Notably, Pearl Serrano seems easily swayed by extra carats on her diamond and a few empty words. That type of character risks sinking into some pretty problematic trends with how television portrays women.
But, with that being said, it’s only the beginning. And the character is coming from a place where this relationship has completely changed her life. So, add that to her overhearing Teddy defending her when his father says some misogynistic mess about her being his “insta-model of a wife,” and it’s certainly understandable to want to believe the best instead of the worst. Honestly, we’ve all fallen for, and believed in, garbage at one point or another. So, let’s see how this works out.
Of course, the criminals aren’t our main focus here. We’re more concerned about the likes of Bell, Stabler, Jet, and…possibly these new guys. If nothing else, we’re looking respectfully there. So, let’s take a look at what Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×02 “Everybody Knows the Dice are Loaded” has to offer.
Where do we join the Denise Bullock Hate Club?
I just want to know where Denise gets off. No, really. At the risk of having a White House Press Secretary call us all venomous — trust that you don’t want to know that reference if you don’t already — we agree that she’s on the level of Kathy Stabler, if not worse, right? Did she…did she really say something about how Sergeant Ayanna Bell “abandoned” her jobs of “being a wife and being a mother”?
First of all. Those aren’t jobs. It’s completely different.
Not to mention…and sorrynotsorry for the “language” or whatever, but like. WTF did she abandon about being a mother? Please. Is she not a good enough mom because she was working? But it was ok for Denise to work, I guess? Ok, bitch.
I don’t even see where Bell was a bad wife by — *checks notes* — practically begging Denise not to work for Webb???? That was already probably beyond what she should have been doing if she wanted to keep her job. But she did it. For her wife. Whom she loved.
“Life is not a case to crack, Ayanna.”
But, as we find out in Organized Crime 3×02, Denise isn’t even interested in trying to fix whatever it is she thinks is broken. (Which, again, the only thing that’s broken is this bitch.) She won’t have a real conversation with Ayanna, and she’s staying with a sister who hates her. (Hi, Kathy 2.0.)
It takes two to tango, Denise. And you’ve got zero coordination.
Anyway. Yeah. Hate Club.
Regardless of how much Danielle Moné Truitt might have gutted us with all that emotion here, we know Ayanna will be just fine without Denise. One day, she’ll find someone who deserves her. Or. Well. No one deserves her…but she’ll find someone who gets as close to it as possible. Or maybe she won’t. She doesn’t need someone else to complete her either way, for what it’s worth.
Partners! …but she’s still your boss, Baldy.
Bell might not need anyone, but she does have someone in her corner. Sure, he’s a royal pain who’s terrible at following orders…but he’s also a big ol’ softy. And he’s a really, really good friend who gets it.
What Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×02 does really, truly brilliantly is show multiple aspects of the Bell/Stabler partnership. Yes, he’ll whine a bit when he doesn’t get his way. See also: “Boohoo, the youths!!! I wanted fellow olds to join me at OCCB!!” (Or whatever the line was.) But Bell can handle him and give as good as he gets. It’s good natured sparring between two people who have worked together long enough to reach a certain level of comfort.
And sure, Elliot does suck at following orders…but the Sergeant will put him in his place. (Complete with that deep sigh from Truitt as Bell, which everyone from the fandom, to Donald Cragen, to Olivia Benson, and beyond felt in their bones.) Ayanna even manages to get what at least seems like a genuine apology out of Elliot, and he makes a good show of asking for direction almost immediately after. So, you’ve got that boss/subordinate vibe, too.
And then, the friendship of two people who both see themselves as “crap” spouses. (If this were on USA, they would’ve said “shit.” Trust me on this one. I covered Suits for years.) El has a lot, probably a surprising amount of things, in common with Ayanna. The biggest commonality…isn’t being bad spouses, though. It’s not even the job — it’s that guilt, that feeling like they have been bad…when really they haven’t.
Or, at least, they’re not as bad as they think. They’re both good people, with their hearts in the right place, working a job where reality says their hearts should be burned out husks — at best.
Truitt and Christopher Meloni hit every single aspect of these characters’ interactions so perfectly. But, of course, the scene in the car — even for all its self-loathing — is their best in “Everybody Knows the Dice are Loaded.” Anything that slows down this super fast-paced series, anything with a real human soul to it, is going to be the best. And it’s not at all surprising that both of these actors put that extra special something into that particular dynamic.
It hurts to think either one of them sees themselves as less than, when both of their wives basically sucked. Because these are our series’ heroes. And because we care about them and have seen them done dirty. (Remember when Elliot was getting up in the middle of the night with a baby while he was recovering from a gunshot wound? Still bitter…and let’s not start on the letter.)
But it’s also an opportunity for good storytelling and already a success for some great acting from these two stars. So…maybe we’ll go watch that scene from Organized Crime 3×02 a few more times. For science. (And because we maybe like suffering at this point.)
…the reluctant new dad
So, one of the big
comedy moments sources of tension between Stabler and Bell in Organized Crime 3×02 starts as a disagreement about whether or not to investigate the Silas family for Henry Cole’s murder, then morphs into Sergeant Bell basically saying Stabler’s old AF. Which, accurate.
In the middle of that, there’s all this talk about how Elliot “wanted an old head” (bald then…or?). But he’s stuck with someone he thinks hasn’t hit puberty yet, who he clearly thinks is going to be a problem…and something about Tic Tacs and fish sticks? (I’m hungry.)
But it turns out that the new kid, Detective Jamie Whelan, is kind of on the Elliot Stabler Defense Squad. So, he’s ok with us. And throughout the episode, it looks like Elliot starts to feel the same way.
But he doesn’t want Jamie fighting his battles for him, for the record. (It was totally fine when Liv did that, that, and a zillion other things, though. She’s our Squad’s Captain, after all.)
“But if I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was a Stabler in the making.”
There’s also something very Stabler about Whelan when he gets ready to go after that uniform cop for calling Elliot a rat. And there’s something very “New” Stabler about the way Elliot shrugs it off but then makes sure to still put the fear of God in the guy. Which, that’s while pulling rank. He has that deadly calm about him that’s a zillion times scarier than him using his fists.
And it is absolutely wild to watch Meloni do that. It takes a lot to be that kind of lethal, yet not directly threatening — while totally aiming for menacing. It’s a dance to control your body that way, and Meloni’s an artist here.
“I don’t like bullies. They steal your lunch money. They copy your homework and then beat the crap out of you anyway — just for the hell of it. And that’s all Organized Crime is. All those guys out there, they’re bullies. Just making life harder for ordinary people. That’s what makes the Brotherhood — cops posing as good guys — even worse. And I don’t like ’em.”
But what’s really “a Stabler in the making’ here, as it turns out, is that Whelan wants to be one of the good ones. And. Just like our man, he really doesn’t care for bullies. That’s why he signed up for OCCB.
So, yeah. We’re ok with him. And we can’t wait to see what the old man teaches him…or what he might be able to teach the old man.
While we don’t get quite as much time with our second new guy, Detective Reyes, he’s definitely one we’ve got our eye on. Or, well, we’d have it there if he didn’t pride himself on being invisible. (As was a large portion of his shirt at the club. Not mad.)
I honestly loved the way he basically begged Bell and Stabler, together, — “everything we do, we have to do it together” — to let him on this “real investigation” of theirs. Doing “the right work,” if you will. Because, really, all he needed to do was get his foot in the door. And he did that all on his own, in a way that clearly blew them both away.
More loaded thoughts on Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×02
- “I don’t like this political stuff.” Oh, to have that kind of privilege to just…not be political.
- (Reason 2389743 why we’re keeping Meloni when we purge the men. Because he is political all over the twitter dot com despite being privileged enough he doesn’t have to be.)
- Ok but how does Teddy Silas not now who Elliot Stabler is after his face was all over the place that one time????
- “Must be quite the detective to be on her arm tonight.” “Well, she took pity on me.” Can’t wait for this exchange to be in a different setting with someone who is actually his date date…
- Workout!Stabler, I’ve missed you.
- But hear me out: Call your friend Olivia for a good time instead.
- “I don’t want these Tic Tac guys.” “TikTok.” “I don’t care what it’s called.” Ok, Zeyde.
- It’s giving: “Just what the world needs: another Elliot Stabler.”
- “…buy him fish sticks and tater tots?” I’m hungry.
- That “what” after Elliot theorizes that the Silas family is behind that murder…and the look on Sergeant Bell’s face. People died!
- Kathy? Kept your marriage together? Pretty sure Olivia’s the one who sent your bald ass home all the time. And who, you know, was begging her not to run out on you with your 92389473th infant when you were undercover. But ok! Whatever helps you sleep at night, bff.
- Ok but leave Jet’s oat milk alone.
- Elliot’s reaction to Jamie…the way he didn’t even respond to his greeting…The man has finally decided he doesn’t want anymore kids. Crying tears of pride here.
- …but he does realize Noah Benson-Stabler is a thing, right? Right.
- “Detective Stabler, I’m—.” Relatable.
Dirtycops are the worst kind of cops.” Fixed it. (But since this is fiction, and we have “good” cops’ lives to be made “harder and more dangerous,” new kid nailed it.)
- “Well, it matters to me.” My heart.
- Elliot. Stabler. comforting. Cole’s. daughter. and. promising. to. get. justice. That’s my man!!! He’s a hero and a good guy, has never done any wrong — ever! (Has possibly done some wrong, sometimes.) Argue with the wall.
- “I’m kind of a fangirl.” Jet is me. I am Jet.
- …the dynamic with Jamie…is something.
- “I’m hard on you because I love you, son. You’ll thank me for it later.” Elliot Stabler’s daddy issues have entered the chat.
- Wow, Robert Silas is trash.
- …and he still ends all of that by demanding grandkids. Typical.
- Honestly, I usually don’t care much for case details. But finding out that nerds who study rats cracked this thing wide open, and Jet being a fangirl is what led the task force to them??? The most brilliant case to ever brilliant.
- “Do you respect me.” Uh. Yes, ma’am.
- “No, no, no. No. You’re not asking me questions; I’m asking you questions. Now, we have been down this road before. I will not be undermined. Is that clear?” Yes, Ma’am.
- The line, probably: “Elliot.” Our girl: “Elliot [siiiiiighhhhhhhhhhh….],” with an internal twist of “I’m tired.” The look she gave him. And the way she closed her eyes! We have all felt this with this man.
- “It has to be handled with tact. Strategy.” “Those aren’t exactly my strong suits.” Lemme get that “brand new information” gif from Friends ready…
- “We’re the worst!!!!” And those laughs. I can’t.
- …but why do I feel like our faves have that kind of moment at the fangirls’ expense on the regular? (Never change, please.)
- Fund the needy kids instead of accepting the dumb ring from the garbage man, Pearl. At least use him for good!
- “We own this city. Let’s let ‘em watch.” EO WHEN.
- “Space.” My constant mood. I am, again, Jet.
- “You might want to zoom in on the coffee cup.” A life motto, if I ever had one.
- …and Jet, again, gets me with knowing where the closest Starbucks is off the top of her head.
- “Is this guy determined to lose a kidney today?” Elliot voice: “I’d give you a kidney.”
- “Cut a rug?” “Yeah. That’s old people slang for dance.” Get him, ladies.
- …in which Jet is not me anymore because she said something about not dancing.
- I take that back. I don’t do that kind of dancing, so we’re good. Jet is me.
- Ok but what happened to “space,” hmmmm?
- And where’s Malachi.
- Not this man ass up on the hood of a car, like, a minute before the episode ends.
- That’s…it’s over?????
Thoughts on Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×02 “Everybody Knows the Dice are Loaded”? Leave us a comment!
Law & Order: Organized Crime airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.