Law & Order: Organized Crime: A Missing Persons Case Left Elliot Stabler Even More Broken Than Before

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Uh oh. We have a serial killer on our hands.


Stabler’s devastating discovery on Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 Episode 5 is only the beginning of a horrific case reminiscent of the real-life Gilgo Beach killer.


Maybe finding the killer will give him purpose, but he’s at his lowest point right now. Where will he go from here?


It always sucks when a missing person is found dead. Before the gruesome discovery, there’s always hope they’re still somewhere in the world and can be rescued.


In Rita’s case, the tragedy is compounded by the fact that Stabler rescued her from the Albanian mob, only for her to end up dead at the hands of a serial killer. Stabler had hoped against hope that she’d be found alive, and when he uncovered her grave, there were no words for his pain.


These scenes were perfect. Although it seemed like Rita was dead, there was still that spark of hope that she wasn’t until the moment he found her. I thought maybe he’d uncover a second bunker and rescue Rita, but that all came crashing down when he unburied her corpse.


Her body was pretty recognizable for someone who had been dead for over two days, but I guess the burial helped with that.


Christopher Meloni played this perfectly. Stabler went from shock to grief in a matter of seconds, and it was utterly heartbreaking.


Stabler was already struggling before this. He seemed isolated and alone, wandering his empty house and making weird phone calls to Eli.


What was that foil he found? Was he worried that Eli was using drugs?


That was weird, and it was dropped as quickly as it was introduced. Hopefully, it’ll be back in a different episode and be addressed in a way that makes sense.


The one person Stabler did not appear to call was Benson. The showrunners keep teasing us with these missed interactions that never go anywhere.


Anyway, searching for Rita probably gave Stabler a sense of purpose. At the very least, it got him out of that house, which seemed suddenly too big as he wandered it aimlessly.


Still, Rita’s death must make his work seem pointless. On Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 Episode 5, Stabler revealed himself as a cop to Rita and got her away from the Albanian mob, only for her to end up dead.


How does he go on after something like that? Bell told him it wasn’t his fault, but I doubt he believed her.


This is going to break him even more than the idiotic IAB investigation. Will he finally turn to Benson? Or to anyone?


It must also sting that the IAB investigation is entirely ridiculous. If Stabler hadn’t done what he did, more people would have died.


It doesn’t matter that the perp was a kid. He had a gun and wanted to use it. Stabler disarmed him—the end.


I loved that Jet stood up so firmly for Stabler, pointing out that the IAB officer’s questions were ridiculous.

IAB: Can you tell me what Detective Stabler did that night?
Jet: He was trying to take out a shooter. If he hadn’t, I would have.


Hopefully, this frivolous investigation will wrap up soon, and Stabler will be back on the job — though he could use a break after the heavy discovery of Rita’s body.


Knowing him, he won’t want one, which might worsen things. He could burn out or lash out at the wrong people.


Stabler’s refusal to let the team help him find Rita and Christine was typical of him, even if the cop refusing backup is somewhat of a tired TV trope.

Stabler: You can’t come with me. You’re not supposed to be here.
Jet: We’re all out of our jurisdiction, especially you.
Stabler: I’m already in hot water. If this goes sideways, Sarge isn’t gonna have a team to come back to.


That scene provided some much-needed comic relief along with the heavy drama. I cracked up when the team grabbed their coats to follow him, only for him to stick his head back in and tell them to cut it out.


The team was better off staying where they were, but not for the reason he suggested. He needed help finding the entrance to the bunker, and it was more efficient for them to see computer technology from afar to help him discover it than for everyone to wander around the woods.


I wonder how Christine managed to escape the same grisly fate as Rita and all the other dead people. I guess she hadn’t been held for long enough for her abductor to kill her; if so, she got lucky.


What was up with Chief Bonner’s attitude toward Stabler?


She was at what appeared to be an illegal poker game, so I guess she’ll use anything she can to keep her activities from being exposed. But now that the serial killer has been discovered, she’ll probably have to work with Stabler and the Organized Crime team no matter how she feels about it.


Still, she was one of the most irritating characters we’ve had in a while. 


It wasn’t clear whether she was corrupt, territorial, or both. All I know is that I want her to get off my screen as quickly as she appeared on it!


Your turn, Law & Order: Organized Crime fanatics.


What did you think of Rita’s death and the reveal that they have a serial killer on their hands?


Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!


Law & Order: Organized Crime airs on Thursdays at 10/9c. New episodes drop on Peacock the day after they air.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.



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