Time to cancel your Thursday night plans, because “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Law and Order: Organized Crime” are back on NBC for a weekly double feature.
Both shows premiered their new seasons on Sept. 23. “SVU” is now on its 23rd season and “Organized Crime” is on its second.
Right off the bat, “SVU'' delivered with a two-hour special episode wrapping up loose ends from the finale of season 22. Capt. Oliva Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, and her squad crack down on a ring of elected officials and higher-ups who make homeless women have sex with them in exchange for housing.
Deputy Chief Christian Garland, played by Demore Barnes, is still being shoved aside by the police due to standing up against the system in season 22, when he defended a young Black man who was unjustly attacked by police.
As the squad pairs up and handles the case, Fin Tutuola (Ice-T) and Kat Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder) must track down the women involved in the trafficking ring. Kat becomes distressed by making these women relive their trauma when most of them want to be left alone. She expresses doubts about working in the SVU. By the end of the two hour episode, both Tamin and Garland decide to leave the Special Victims Unit.
Prior to the season 23 premiere, producers announced that both Barnes and Hyder were having their characters written off without any specific reasons. Hyder wrote in an Instagram post that the decision was “made above my pay grade,” and that she would not have made the same choice. Tamin was only the second main character in SVU history who was in the LGBTQ+ community.
While their characters’ departures were upsetting, the continuation of Amanda Rollins and Sonny Carisi’s relationship provided immense joy. The beginning of the episode takes place immediately after where season 22 left off, where Rollins and Carisi, or better known as Rollisi, finally shared a kiss. One of the first scenes in the premiere cuts to them making out in an empty NYC courthouse to get some alone time.
Mariska Hargitay injured her leg at the end of season 22, so they decided to write her injury into the season premiere. While on the phone with Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni), she gets run off the road by another car and injures her ankle, which is followed by a hallucination scene where Elliot is her EMT.
“Organized Crime” takes place after a timeskip where most of Richard Wheatley’s (Dylan McDermott) charges have been dismissed, and Stabler has been undercover for three months in an Albanian drug ring where he now sports a very full circle beard and a bald head.
Though he is undercover, Stabler is able to make quiet visits to his squad and his youngest son, Eli. There is a touching scene between Stabler and Eli where we see a glimpse into their bond and Eli expresses that he misses his father.
As Stabler becomes more immersed with the Albanians, he eventually finds himself in the middle of a drug war and invited to family barbecues, where the head of his ring questions Stabler’s motives.
These first two episodes were all business and set up a solid foundation for the rest of the season. The promo for next week advertises another three hour special event where “SVU” and “Organized Crime” work together, and the infamous letter that Stabler wrote to Benson is supposed to be revealed.
You can catch “Law and Order: SVU” at 9 p.m. and “Law and Order: Organized Crime” at 10 p.m. Thursdays on NBC.