Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Law & Order: SVU Season 25 on NBC, called "The Punch List."
The milestone 25th season of Law & Order: SVU hasn't been easy on Olivia Benson, even by SVU standards. She has been haunted by the disappearance of a young girl who she'd promised to find, and that affected her to the point that she took a personal day in "The Punch List" to support Maddie's mom. There was enough happening in this episode without cramming in a crossover, but there was one moment folowing a development for Benson that I'd say counts as a subtle nod to Law & Order: Organized Crime, and it just reminded me of how much I appreciate the continuity between the two shows in the 2024 TV schedule.
SVU and Organized Crime have by far the closest ties within the Law & Order franchise, to the point that their season finales back in the spring were two halves of a crossover event. (You can revisit them streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription.) Fans probably shouldn't count on another two-parter in a TV season shortened by last year's WGA writers strike and SAG-AFTRA actors strike. But the three episodes of each so far in 2024 have acknowledged the ties, and the end of "The Punch List" saw Benson once again touching the compass necklace that Stabler gave her.
And she did so in a particularly vulnerable moment: when she visited an office to evidently begin EMDR therapy. Whether that therapy will actually happen on screen or even be pursued beyond this first tease remains to be seen, but it wasn't the first time she was fiddling with the necklace. She even explained in the Season 25 premiere that it was meant to lead her to happiness, and she seems to be trying. Maybe one day, she'll even take a personal day for a fun reason! (Maybe in another 25 seasons?)
Of course, if you missed the finale crossover in 2023 – which I still think finally nailed Benson and Stabler's close relationship for the first time since his return – then the necklace would seem to have no significance tying it to Organized Crime. Since I very much did watch that TV event, I know that I and many other fans have definitely caught her toying with the necklace. And I count that as continuity, especially with a pair of procedural shows tackling different kinds of cases.
Still, if the necklace was the only tie between SVU and OC in the new year, I wouldn't be writing about the two shows embracing continuity. For other nods, fans can look over to Organized Crime. In the Season 4 premiere of OC, Stabler actually called his former partner because he wanted to hear her voice, and he later watched the press conference for the case from the end of the SVU episode just an hour earlier on NBC.
Considering that it was just over a year ago that I was wondering if SVU and Organized were on the same page about Benson and Stabler, I'm taking the necklace being given significance and Stabler reaching out as wins! Plus, the promo for the next episode of OC proves that a familiar face from SVU will appear. Take a look:
Why hello there, ADA Carisi! It's not clear how much of a role Peter Scanavino's character will have in the episode, and Stabler has a family situation to deal with now that both of his brothers are in town, but the franchise acknowledging and keeping the bond between OC and SVU alive even in minor ways is enough for me. I'm not sure how much we can credit this on the OC side to Breaking Bad alum John Shiban joining the spinoff as the new showrunner, but I appreciate it!
Find out if the two shows continue to connect (and if Law & Order will ever participate) on NBC's Law & Order Thursday lineup, starting at 8 p.m. ET with the original L&O, continuing at 9 p.m. ET with Law & Order: SVU, and finishing at 10 p.m. ET with Law & Order: Organized Crime.