NBC’s “Law & Order: Organized Crime” has only been a part of the Dick Wolf L&O franchise for a few weeks, but it’s already shaking up the fanbase like nothing before it.
In the most recent episode, Elliot Stabler’s (Christopher Meloni) children enlisted Stabler’s favorite person Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) to help host an intervention for the much-suffering detective, and it went south fast, thanks to Elliot dropping one helluva bomb.
Elliot, naturally, reacted to being in a room with his loved ones all wanting to talk to him about his feelings as if he was a bear with his leg in a trap. He would have gladly chewed off his own limb to get out there. How do these people know him for decades and not know him at all?
Olivia, naturally, tried to bring the temperature down in the room.
“Elliot, tell us what you need,” she said.
Viewers at home were not prepared for what happened next:
“I love you,” Elliot said.
Olivia looked stunned.
Not so much.
They barely reacted.
With the exception of the youngest, they’ve known Olivia their entire lives, and they’re smart enough and old enough to know the score.
Elliot tried to backtrack, and fast, and, man, Meloni went through about 52 emotions in a nanosecond as Elliot realized what he said aloud and tried to take it all back.
“I love all of you,” he said. “Yeahhhh, I don’t think I can do this.”
Meloni’s body language in this brief moment was extraordinary. This should be on his Emmy reel.
Watch for yourself:
Fans set social media on fire.
“THE WAY I SCREAMED AND DROPPED MY WATER,” one fan posted on Twitter.
“I love you killed me!!!” another said.
“My heart cannot contain itself,” another posted. “This show is giving me what I need. Can’t wait to see where this goes. Don’t play with us, ‘Law & Order.’ We’ve waited long enough.”
For the first 13 seasons of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Elliot and Olivia danced around their feelings for one another.
Whenever one would get close to talking honestly, the other would shut it down. It was one helluva long dance, and fans were convinced the mutually held devotion would never be addressed.
For NBC and the L&O franchise, this moment was surprisingly smart. NBC is all about building synergy between its Dick Wolf shows. Hell, the network has given him Wednesday night with all the “Chicago” shows, and they’d like to expand that reach.
What better way than to finally ignite a love affair between two beloved characters?
So where does the show – either show – go from here?
Olivia still feels apprehensive around Elliot. He was the rock of her life, and he walked out, seemingly never looking back, for a good decade.
For a woman with trust issues, that’s not going to be easy to get past.
Elliot just lost his wife of more than 30 years and is desperate to bring her killers to justice.
The long dance will continue.
But it looks to have some surprising steps ahead.
For those paying attention, there was much more to the episode. Elliot discovered that Kathy truly was the target of the bomb that killed her.
So what did she know that put her in jeopardy?