Stabler seems to be settling into his new job.
Despite getting beaten up, he made it clear he's not giving up on getting Wheatley -- if anything, he's more determined.
And on Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 1 Episode 3, he and Bell made progress both in the case and their professional relationship.
Organized Crime is also proving to be the kind of show where viewers have to pay complete attention and/or watch more than once to make sure they didn't miss anything!
A lot happens in each episode, and this one was no exception.
By the end of the hour, Stabler had arrested the Israeli bodyguard who likely helped beat him up, interfered with Wheatley's plans to build his own server, and tried and failed to tie him to the vaccine theft.
And that was only half the story.
There seems to be a lot of subterfuge going on too, and nobody is exactly who they seem to be.
The guy Wheatley threatened with his octopus turned out to be a CI who helped Stabler interfere with the server, and of course, Gina is working undercover too.
And let's not forget that Wheatley has a mole somewhere among the cops, too, though nobody tipped him off about his bodyguard getting arrested... or did they?
Catching that guy seemed almost too easy, and I'm waiting for the twist.
The biggest question mark, though, is what Angie is up to.
She keeps showing up at random times and flirting with Wheatley, yet she also keeps contacting Stabler and telling him about Wheatley's plans.
Wheatley: What are you doing here?
Angie: Books. That time of year. I could have done it at my place but it isn't as secure as your digital fortress.
Wheatley: No, go ahead. Mi casa es su casa.
Angie: Should have asked for it in the divorce.
She told Stabler she was trying to protect Dana from getting too deeply involved in the family business but was she telling him the truth?
She's tough to read, and while right now it appears she's double-crossing Wheatley to protect her surviving children, she may be playing a different game altogether.
Also, we don't know enough about Gina to know whether we can really trust her.
Bell seems to, but that doesn't mean anything. She trusts Washburn too, and I haven't forgotten that Stabler was suspicious of him from the moment he met him.
Gina is doing a good job of seducing Richie so she can infiltrate Wheatley's operation. But Joey is a wild card -- he seems to be a legitimate partner in Wheatley's ventures so far, and Gina's relationship with him could lead to a lot of trouble.
Plus, Wheatley isn't stupid. As the trailer for Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 1 Episode 4 demonstrates, he's already suspicious of this woman who seems to have glommed onto his son.
That's why I wonder what the truth is behind his bodyguard's arrest.
I can't help thinking that Wheatley is still one step ahead of the cops. Stabler got him good with the server trick, but Wheatley isn't going to let it happen twice.
So it's unlikely that his bodyguard got caught without Wheatley knowing exactly what was going to happen. In fact, Wheatley probably wanted it to go down the way it did for reasons of his own.
All these twists and turns make for exciting television, but the side story about Stabler's mental health issues is even more compelling.
It's so refreshing for a primetime series to take mental health issues such as PTSD seriously. So many shows don't, but Organized Crime is hitting all the beats just right.
The scene at home with Kathleen and Eli was one of the strongest scenes of the hour, plus it offered a nice tie-in with the Stabler family's history.
Kathleen: You need help. Get on medication.
Stabler: I'm not taking any drugs.
Kathleen: Why? Cause you're not bipolar like me and Grandma?
Stabler: No. Cause in my job, if they think you need meds, they take your badge.
Kathleen: I'm sure it's not like that anymore.
Long-time Stabler fans may remember that back on Law & Order: SVU Season 10 Episode 8, Kathleen's manic behavior caused her all sorts of legal problems, and she refused, at the time, to get help.
Now a grown-up, Kathleen is the one trying to get her dad to get help and protect her little brother as best as she can.
I was glad that Organized Crime also addressed some of the reasons cops don't get help for issues such as PTSD. As much as Kathleen doesn't think that a mental health diagnosis would cause her dad to lose his badge, he's been around cops long enough for the fear to be realistic.
This was a nice demonstration of how the stigma attached to mental health issues affects cops.
Of course, Stabler is also resisting admitting he has a problem because that's part of how PTSD works.
Many fans surmise that he is pushing Benson away because he doesn't want her in the mob's crosshairs. There may be some truth to that, but I think he also doesn't want to have to face his inability to deal with his PTSD on his own, and her presence would be a constant reminder of that.
Anyway, Kathleen was right that Eli isn't safe as long as he lives with Stabler, but I'm not sure her and Stabler's idea that Eli should move in with Maureen is much better.
Wheatley is sure to have done his research, so it's not like he won't know that Stabler has other kids in New York. If the mob wants to use Eli to get to Stabler, the mob will go after him no matter where he is living... and possibly after Maureen if Eli is staying with her.
Your turn, Organized Crime fanatics! What did you think of the latest developments in the case against Wheatley?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!
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Law & Order: Organized Crime airs on NBC on Thursdays at 10 PM EST/PST.