law & order: organized crime official poster

Law & Order: Organized Crime: ‘What Happens in Puglia’ Recap & Review

Following last Thursday night’s episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the story continues on Law & Order: Organized Crime. I don’t know why it took me so long to write this (because I watched this episode right after SVU) but I blame it on being unmotivated and lazy (lol). So, for anyone that wants to see this show, watching the latest SVU episode is necessary to understand everything that happens in this episode. But just to recap, Stabler’s wife, Kathy, becomes the victim in a case and it, unfortunately, goes unsolved. But he’s still determined to find the culprit so the story continues in this episode.

Full Recap

Liv (played by Mariska Hargitay) talking to Stabler (played by Christopher Meloni) in the park while it's snowing

Picking up right where SVU left off, Stabler marches to ask some prisoners some questions. It’s not clear who these two men are, but it’s definitely connected to one of his other cases. And we know that because Stabler asks if they know anything about Sacha Lenski (the guy who set off the car bomb) in Italian. The guys behind bars don’t say anything but we know they’re involved somehow. In their one-sided conversation, Stabler reveals they found receipts for their money transfer at the auto body shop. However, he doesn’t get to say much because some cops go after Stabler. Apparently, those cops and the guys behind bars are all involved in a case. One that Stabler’s supposed to testify against. So, understandably, they don’t want Stabler to jeopardize their case.

Later, Stabler’s boss calls him out for potentially ruining this case. But Stabler just wants answers. After that, Stabler meets with Liv at the park. Even though SVU can’t investigate the case anymore, they do still have some evidence left so Liv gives him all the case files. She’s also fully aware that they could take Stabler off the case. Additionally, it’s snowing in New York and Elliot talks about his life in Rome and how Eli, his youngest son, loves soccer. Then, Noah shows up to get Liv to go sledding with him and that’s when Elliot sees him for the first time. Unfortunately, there isn’t a formal introduction between the two but Liv does leave Stabler with something interesting. Apparently, they searched Sacha’s apartment and found a burner cell. They couldn’t get anything off it but she’s hopeful he knows someone who can.

Mafia Connections

The team watching a clip of Manfredi (played by Chazz Palminteri) making racist comments at a press conference

Although SVU couldn’t get anything off the burner cell, Stabler knows someone who can. He meets with Jet Sloomakers, a hacker from one of his past cases. She ends up getting GPS locations of where Sacha was up to two days before he died. The one location that popped out to them was a storage place called Securito Storage. Through some research, they find out that it’s a shell company from none other than mafia boss, Manfredi Sinatra. And it just so happens that Sinatra just got out of prison six months ago. Eventually, Elliot and an ESU team go to that location to search the place, which they could do because they violated COVID regulations when they had a rave last month.

There, some kids are hanging around outside, and as irrelevant as it seems, they actually say something that proves useful later on. They say this spot was where Raffi the Poet used to smoke hookah, but it’s now empty because he died. After shooing the kids away, the team finds Raffi the Poet’s passport (whose real name is Rafiq), some Italian papers, and Elliot’s ID card. More specifically, it’s Elliot’s ID card from his terrorism task force from Italy, which unfortunately means that someone in that department betrayed them. Later, they find out those Italian papers are actually counterfeit certificates of conformity. Plus, they match ones they found in a raid in Puglia months earlier.

Following the Evidence

Stabler's family and Liv (played by Mariska Hargitay) at Kathy's funeral

Then, Elliot says he wants to meet with Sinatra and ADA Maria Delgato suggests they meet with his lawyer. Especially because that’s how they communicated with him in the past. More than that, however, ADA Delgato brings up a good point. Raffi the Poet was a black gang member and Sinatra’s notoriously known to be a racist. Then, Stabler finds Rafiq’s (again, Raffi the Poet’s real name) mother, Angela Wheatley, who’s a college professor. He tries to get her to talk about him and offers to help figure out who killed him, but she’s uninterested. Then, he tells her about how his wife got murdered last week, and this emotional appeal works. He asks her if she knows anything about why they found his Italian ID in his safe with his passport and she says she has no idea why.

Then, we finally get a small glimpse into Rafiq’s life. Not only was he a talented poet, but he apparently took after his father, or more specifically, his father’s addiction. Then, everyone finally comes together for Kathy’s funeral. There, all of Stabler’s kids show up (remember, his younger kids were still in Rome) as well as Liv. Eli (Stabler’s youngest) visibly breaks down at the funeral so Stabler consoles him as Liv does the same for his older kids. After the funeral, Stabler gets a call and finally gets his meet with Sinatra. There, he confronts him about his wife’s murder and Sinatra says he doesn’t make mistakes like that. If he wanted Elliot dead, he’d be dead.

Family Affairs

Richard Wheatley (played by Dylan McDermott) talking to his son, Richard "Richie" Wheatley Jr. (played by Nick Creegan)

After that, we finally meet Dylan McDermott’s character, Richard Wheatley, a rich businessman. As he talks to his son, his other son, Ryan, comes in to tell them their “Pop Pop” (grandpa) is here to see him. “Pop Pop” turns out to be none other than Manfredi Sinatra. Sinatra then confronts Richard about his oldest (adopted) son throwing a party (the rave) at one of his storage warehouses. Turns out Richard’s the one who hired Rafiq and has something to do with whatever’s going on in Puglia (Italy). Unfortunately, that also probably means he’s the one behind Kathy’s murder, so (at least in this case) Sinatra’s innocent.

Later, Stabler goes back to his office where Seargent Ayanna Bell is there waiting for him. Apparently, Stabler’s been trying to get on her team for a while. But she’s hesitant to hire him onto her task force because of his NYPD history and psych evaluation. However, she’s been looking into Manfredi for the past two years, so she sees the benefit of adding him to the team. Then, she informs him that Manfredi has a son, Richard, who changed his last name to Wheatley after marrying his first wife. Considering that Angela didn’t say anything about this earlier is suspicious, so Stabler goes back to talk to her. When he meets with her, two people on a motorcycle try to shoot at them but Stabler senses them coming so he protects Angela. He tries to go after the motorcycle but they get too far with too many witnesses around.

Father Versus Son

Richard (played by Dylan McDermott) and Manfredi (played by Chazz Palminteri)

When asked about it later, Stabler says the hit could’ve been for either one of them. Then, Stabler gets a message on his computer (at his new desk) claiming to know who killed his wife. And to prove it, it also says to meet them at 9:00 PM at the Wonder Wheel, however, it doesn’t say who it is. Cut to Manfredi waiting at the Wonder Wheel, but Stabler hasn’t shown up yet. Instead, Richard shows up (first). He takes his father up the Wonder Wheel where Manfredi offers to go into business together. Richard knows he set up a meeting with Stabler and isn’t happy about it. Manfredi pretends he only did it to protect him, but Richard knows better.

Then, the Wonder Wheel stops at the top and Manfredi tries to pretend he isn’t scared but doesn’t hide it well. Manfredi then apologizes for the racist comments he’s made about Richard’s family in the past (because he married a black woman and therefore has mixed children). However, Richard says he can’t forgive him for that. By then, Stabler shows up and sees that the Wonder Wheel’s stopped at the top. Then, the ride starts to move again and Stabler runs to stop it using the machine. When it stops, he finds Manfredi inside, dead from a shot to the head.

The Aftermath

Liv (played by Mariska Hargitay) waiting for Stabler (played by Christopher Meloni) in his office lobby

Stabler searches him and finds his phone, but when trying to use face ID, it doesn’t unlock his phone. So, he runs and makes an anonymous call to the cops about the body. On his way back to his office, he bumps into Liv in the lobby (where she’s been waiting for him). She wants to talk to him about the letter he wrote for her award ceremony but he’s visibly shaken, and Liv knows something is up. But Elliot brushes it off and just leaves her in the lobby, confused.

As for Richard, he gets back home to his wife, Pilar, waiting to go to dinner. Surprisingly, his ex-wife, Professor Wheatley is also there waiting for him. Even more shockingly, she knows Richard’s behind the shooting at the college and isn’t happy. But she’s more upset about the fact that his goons opened fire on campus in front of all of her students.

Final Thoughts

Richard Wheeler (played by Dylan McDermott)

Like I said in my SVU review, it makes sense that Kathy’s the one that brings Elliot back into all of this. However, it looks like he’s caught up in a pretty villainous plot. We don’t yet know why Richard’s behind Kathy’s murder but I’m assuming there’s more to the story. Although, I do find it strange that so much of Richard’s character consists of him hating his father and everything he stands for only to be as villainous as him (or arguably, worse considering he killed him).

It’s also unclear how or why Angela’s involved in all of this but I can’t imagine she wanted Rafiq to die as a result. Especially considering how highly she spoke about him, even after knowing he was a gang member. But I’m excited to see how the story unfolds for the rest of the season. I only hope that Elliot doesn’t let his grief control him and Liv comes back to keep him in check. But only time will tell.

One thought on “Law & Order: Organized Crime: ‘What Happens in Puglia’ Recap & Review

Leave a Reply