Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×13 “Punch Drunk” is nothing if not a brilliant showcase of talent from both Ainsley Seiger and Danielle Moné Truitt. By extension, the episode also shows just how capable Jet — excuse me, Detective Slootmaekers — is at her job. To be fair, the series hasn’t exactly hidden that fact. We’ve just never seen it put the spotlight her ability to go deep undercover like this before now. So, on top of “tech skills to rival even those of the great Penelope Garcia” (there’s a crossover I’d die to see, especially as it would pit an eternal ray of sunshine against our Jet), we can now add “a good actress” to her skills.
(Full offense: She’s wrong. Because she’s not a “good” anything — more like excellent. Let’s not grossly understate facts here!)
Which, of course, brings us full circle in saying we always knew Seiger was good…but wow, is it fun to see a whole new layer of how good.
Basically, all of the above is just a very long-winded and circular way of saying “omg Ainsley.” Now, the “omg Danielle” part: Our task force’s commanding officer is an excellent leader, an even better mentor, and not remotely afraid to do the right thing — even when it means causing trouble with her superiors. And the word “superior” is being used incredibly freely there…because there’s nothing actually superior about Thurman, as we all know. This is all character stuff, of course, but none of it would land without Truitt. And to be very clear here: She could absolutely carry this series on her own. Pretty sure we’ve pointed that out before, but it’s more and more clear with every single episode.
As we take a bit of a deeper look at Organized Crime 3×13, it’s worth pointing out that the very intense confrontation between Christopher Meloni and Timothy V. Murphy would normally be the highlight of the hour. Sorry to the guy with the melons, though, because anything that wasn’t either Seiger or Truitt in “Punch Drunk” was just background noise. Very lovely background noise, perhaps, like when you put on a favorite album or series while you work…but background noise all the same.
Ainsley Jet. We see you.
So, back to what we were saying about Ainsley Seiger utterly and completely owning Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×13. It’s difficult to even know where to begin with such a spectacular performance. Not hyperbole here: We were utterly and completely blown away. In the first place, the “Juliet” character is so at odds with Jet Slootmaekers that we experienced a not-insignificant amount of whiplash seeing both the actor and the character slip in and out of this new persona. There are teeny, tiny tells here and there, particularly in the opening scene, where it’s evident that Jet’s still around…somewhere. But overall, this is just a totally new side, one that’s flirty yet shy, seductive yet bashful, and just the overall perfect amount of “stereotypical mobster’s girl” to really sell the undercover op.
Throughout “Punch Drunk,” Seiger keeps us guessing about where exactly Jet’s head is at in all of this, particularly in the “women’s intuition” scene. Has she fallen too deep? Is she starting to empathize with, to fall for, this target? There’s just enough of this…sort of staring off into the distance, acting like an upset girlfriend, even here where no one who would need to believe the act is watching. But the authentically Jet flavor, so to speak, of the disdain on the “please don’t force me to use the expression, ‘women’s intuition'” line is the kind of hint to the audience that, in hindsight, should’ve been the “aha” moment that, no, Jet hadn’t lost herself at all. She was in it at exactly the right level.
Later, when she uses the chemistry and the “relationship” connection with Seamus to keep him from following through on a hit, it’s right back to thinking, “ok. Maybe Jet really has become too attached.” It’s utterly compelling to watch unfold, to try to parse out what exactly is going on and why. But considering how much Stabler lost himself as Eddie Wagner, Slootmaekers is absolutely right when she defends herself to Bell. And wow, is that scene nuts good work from both Seiger and Truitt.
We’ve all been there at some point or another, knowing our abilities and desperate to prove ourselves to people who seem to want to discredit us because we’re…what? Younger? Less experienced? How do we get the experience without that trust and respect, though? You can’t earn what others won’t open their eyes to see has already been more than gained. And all of Jet’s frustration in that moment, not to mention that extreme sense of betrayal from being followed and photographed, is delivered with the most perfect of notes. In the wrong hands, it could very well have been misinterpreted as “the youth throwing a tantrum,” if you will, but there is absolutely none of that feeling here. None.
Then, of course, both performances hike up yet another notch when Jet shows up at Ayanna’s door “drunk.” She even fooled us, for what it’s worth. What takes place next is simultaneously devastating and uplifting. That “I just wanted you to be proud of me” line, followed by Truitt’s “I am proud of you,” is crushing. But for as much pain as we feel, especially while seeing Bell finally open up about Jennings’ murder, there’s hope to be had here, too. Because Bell is letting her detective in on her big, emotional attachment to this case. And they are moving to a place where Jet can ask for that one more chance and, however reluctantly from Sergeant Bell, get it.
We are, perhaps, a little bit too devastated by the end of “Punch Drunk” to go into a terrible amount of detail on that. Let’s just say, though, our girl was such a badass when she revealed her true identity to Seamus.
…if only she hadn’t let herself get distracted. We have to wait how long to see how she saves herself? And, to be clear: We have no doubt she will save herself…But we have to wait how long to be sure? Rude.
“…because I love my team and I trust them.”
Did we mention yet that we will continue to stan Danielle Moné Truitt and Sergeant Ayanna Bell for all eternity? Because we will. Jot that down.
While a lot of Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×13 is Ainsley Seiger’s masterclass, with many of the major moments between Slootmaekers and Bell emphasizing Jet’s perspective over Ayanna’s, we really can’t count out what Truitt does here. In the first place, while it may come across as a lack of faith to Jet, our outsider’s perspective gives us more insight. It’s very clear in the performance that Bell is just concerned. It’s not that she doesn’t trust the young detective — it’s that she cares. She also knows, probably more than anyone, just how dangerous Murphy and his people are and is not at all prepared for another loss.
In many ways, I do feel like Bell is tougher on Jet than she has been on Elliot. But not in an unfair way. I’d even go so far as to say it’s probably a good thing. In this world, women are already starting from a disadvantaged place and need to work 10 times as hard as men — plus, you know, backwards and in high heels. So, to have a mentor who will push you and give you the tough love, as opposed to simply being tough on you, is actually not the worst thing in the world…even if it most certainly feels like it is in the moment.
And, just like Jet, she’s right about the respect part during their argument in her office — Jet’s not showing her much in that moment. It’s easy to understand why, but as the boss, she has to assert her authority a bit there. It works. Beautifully so. On the flip side, Ayanna is not just the boss but also a person. That’s a Captain Obvious sort of statement, sure, but it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of that when she’s fully in Sergeant Bell mode. But, when she’s at home and Jet shows up, she’s fully Ayanna. Her emotional response to pretty much everything involving Jennings, and discovering Murphy has his old ring from the Police Academy, is completely devastating.
Again, it’s all just fantastic, fabulous, incredible, insane, [or insert your favorite intensely-positive adjective here] work from Truitt. She is truly the gift that keeps on giving, and we love everything she gives. Everything.
To that end, it’d be a crime to leave out what she delivers in Bell’s latest showdown with Thurman. There’s that look of recognition when she’s mid-sentence in asking why there’s an IAB investigation. Or, just her determined and vindicated stance as she enters the scene with proof her instincts have been right all along. And the passion for why she kept her job instead of taking the promotion. I’m not sure what to call it, exactly? But that head tilt and deceptively bored, yet actually more like quietly murderous, when that smug bastard was talking about Bell turning down the job and being “just like your friend Stabler,” was everything.
Did I mention we don’t deserve her enough times yet? No? Here you go again then: We do not deserve.
More on Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×13
- “What if things get out of hand?” “It’s what we’re counting on.” You would, Elliot. You. Would.
- Bell’s right to be concerned about Jet, not only as someone who cares about her people but because of that intense look of discomfort as she fiddles with her necklace. There’s so much going on there, someone (not me. I’m tired) ought to write a whole dissertation on it.
- Ok but that severed hand looks fake AF.
- …and I do thank Stabler for keeping that poor dog from having to pass a ring through his digestive tract. Truly.
- Elliot: “To set up a boxing match.” Bell’s face: “I’m so tired of this bitch.” (Same, Sarge. Same.)
- “She’s fine; she’s reeling him in.” Get you a surrogate work dad who believes in you the way El believes in Jet, though. Like, his look of pride when they’re listening in to some of these conversations? My heart.
- …then again, he’s messed up so many times before, perhaps “pride” from Stabler is a sign you’re doing it wrong.
- “My interests are all that matter.” As a viewer, can relate.
- …Murphy really called Detective AARP “boy,” huh?
- “You don’t answer my texts, calls…” Olivia Benson can relate.
- “I can take care of myself.” We know!
- “Please. Stabler has done so much worse than this.” Correct. Let’s talk about Flutura. Angela. Ghosting us for 10 years…
- But the terrifying delivery on “we’re not talking about Detective Stabler,” though. I would’ve pissed myself faced with Sergeant Bell’s wrath right there.
- …that slow sink into the chair when Bell asks Slootmaekers why she’s still wearing the necklace. Absolutely mindfuckingly-good stuff. (Yes, I’ve made up a word for it.)
- Absolutely loved when Reyes gave Jet both the comfort and the advice necessary to get her to go show Bell her skills, though. I mean, this episode is 100% not about men, but good stuff here anyway.
- Bell. In. That. Dress. MA’AM.
- “Still nothing from Jet.” “Don’t worry. She’ll be here.” A reversal! Bell is all in now, while Stabler is worried. Such a small detail to give us such a ton of insight.
- NYPD needs to invest in better wigs, huh. (Though, to be fair, why couldn’t she have just been like, “yeah. Regretted a haircut, so I went with this” or something?)
- “It’s Detective Slootmaekers, Organized Crime Task Force.” I KNOW THAT’S RIGHT.
- Losing her gun, winding up in a trunk…I’m all for fun “baby Benson” comparisons. But I have about zero interest in getting this reminder. Especially if neither this nor the whole IAB mess is used to make a connection back to that other show and what Baldy has missed in the last decade.
Thoughts on Law & Order: Organized Crime 3×13 “Punch Drunk”? Leave us a comment!
Law & Order: Organized Crime airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC. The series will return on February 16.
Great episode… Everyone acted well here, the villains included.
The wig was the only sticking point for me.
“Yeah the casino bar makes me have to wear this wig… If you dont like me anymore coz of my short hair, it’s totally cool. I get it. I will just show myself out of this underground parking garage. Thanks, nice knowing ya!”
Wish the show had found a different way to have Jet’s identity revealed to the Irish boy.
Yeah…The wig thing was ridiculous. Truly.