One week after Law & Order: Organized Crime premiered, the show's producers are already looking ahead.
During a Wednesday press conference with creator and executive producer Dick Wolf, showrunner Ilene Chaiken and star Christopher Meloni, the trio laid out what's in store for the latest Law & Order spinoff.
Wolf noted how Organized Crime will differ from past series in the franchise, specifically because the seasons will follow longer storylines with recurring villains, versus one-episode arcs.
"The thing that really excites me about the show — and I'm not speaking for Chris, but I think is exciting for him — is that this is the first Law & Order with literally a completely different storytelling," he told reporters. "In a 24-episode season, which you should think next year would be, you should think about the fact that it's going to be three eight-episode arcs. And the first third of the season is The Godfather, the second third is American Gangster and the last third is Scarface."
"And these villains are going to be really bad guys that give Chris a constant source of energy, outrage, belief in justice and a different way of pursuing criminals than we've had before," he continued. "You could always say, what are you going to be doing this year?"
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Wolf also spoke to the evolution of Meloni's character, Elliot Stabler, who previously fought crime alongside Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for 12 seasons. (Meloni left the show 2011 due to issues with contract negotiation)
"[Chaiken has] managed to take a very tough character and make him more sympathetic last week than he's ever been," Wolf said. "You ever think you'd see Stabler cry?"
As for whether fans can expect to see more of Stabler and Benson together like in last week's crossover event, Wolf said additional crossovers will occur when it's right for the storylines in each show.
"We're going to do it whenever it gives both shows a different way to shine," he said. "And, obviously, there is a portion of the audience that says, 'Geez, this is frustrating. Why don't you just put them both on the same show again?' It's not exciting. This, to me, is much more engaging."
"These two shows exist in the same universe, a fictional, very grounded universe. And we never forget that those other characters and those other stories exist," Chaiken added of SVU and Organized Crime.
"And when we tell a story about Stabler in Benson's world or Benson in Stabler's world and things happen that affect their characters, we don't just forget about it," she continued. "So it's both challenging and tantalizing from the point of view of story writing to make sure that you keep those things alive while the shows have their own identity, each of them."
Law & Order: Organized Crime airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST on NBC.
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