Law & Order Organized Crime Season 4 Ending Explained: Why The Stakes Will Be Sky-High When The Series Returns


Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 ended with a literally explosive cliffhanger.

Throughout the season, Stabler fought the twin battles of catching a violent drug kingpin and getting his wayward little brother off a horrible path.

Joey came back to the United States with a heroin addiction, and the guy supplying the heroin proved to be as slippery as he was violent.

A lot happened during an intense finale, so let’s examine everything that happened and where it leaves our favorite characters.

How Joey Ended Up In This Predicament

Stabler and Randall had been desperate to get Joey clean. They went as far as kidnapping him on Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 Episode 12 and locking him in a room where he couldn’t access drugs.

However, Joey was equally resourceful and escaped, but that was far from the end of the story.

He offered to work as a confidential informant, pretending to be on drug supplier Julian Emery’s side, which was always a risky plan.

Joey disappeared for several days when his brothers were holding him captive, only to reappear more eager than ever to help with the operation.

Related: Law & Order Organized Crime Review: A Perfect Season Finale Full of Cliffhangers to Keep Us Talking All Summer

That should have been a red flag for a drug supplier.

Someone who disappears and reappears like that is more likely than not to have been arrested and coerced into working for the cops.

That could explain why Emery fed Joey bad info that put the cops in the wrong place and everything that followed.

A Search for Chemical Weapons Led to a Devastating Twist

Emery is the kind of cold-blooded killer who might have sacrificed a loyal employee so that he could handcuff Joey to a suitcase full of chemical weapons.

The Organized Crime Unit had been interested in a big shipment that Emery was getting and was working with the DEA to find out what it was and stop it.

It turned out that Emery was not getting drugs but chemical weapons, enough to cause a mass casualty event.

Emery handcuffed the suitcase of weapons to Colin, one of his right-hand men, while taking steps to ensure the cops went to the wrong place, buying himself time to get his private aircraft ready.

The cops were only fooled temporarily, thanks to Joey using Giles Emery’s online game to send a message to the Organized Crime Unit, leading to a standoff at the airfield where DEA agent Cole got shot.

This exciting standoff came with a plot twist that made our heads spin.

After Colin was shot and subdued, his suitcase of chemical weapons was neutralized while Emery headed for Cuba and blocked Jet’s signal so she couldn’t trace his plane.

That suitcase was a decoy, and as the credits rolled, Emery handcuffed Joey’s wrist to another suitcase full of the same weapons.

The chances are that Emery did all that on purpose to put Stabler in an impossible situation where every move he makes will have to be calculated against the risk to his brother’s life and the population of New York City or the world.

The Final Scene on The Plane Upped the Stakes

After the plane took off and Jet reported to Stabler that she could not track it beyond knowing it had headed toward Cuba, Law & Order: Organized Crime twisted the knife with a final, intense scene between Emery and Joey.

Emery suggested that someone must have tipped off the Feds.

He joked that it must be his young son, Giles. Then he announced he always had a backup plan before handcuffing Joey to a new suitcase of chemical weapons.

This cliffhanger made our jaws drop to the floor.

Not only was Joey in grave danger, but it seemed likely that Emery knew he was the mole and was toying with him before going in for the kill.

Bad News on the Homefront, Too

Stabler’s standoff with Joey and Emery came at a bad time, as Eli was desperate to share some news with Stabler.

During another ill-fated family dinner like the one on Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 Episode 4, Eli informed his father that he had enrolled in the police academy.

The hotheaded elder Stabler yelled at Eli that it was too dangerous before running off to deal with the chemical weapons situation.

As his parting shot, Stabler informed his son that being a cop meant constantly getting interrupted like this.

Later, Stabler returned home to discover Eli making ginger tea for his girlfriend, Becky.

He realized that Becky was pregnant and that he was the last to know, as Eli had told Randall a long time ago.

The father-son tensions are boiling over now, and if Eli learns that his Uncle Joey is in grave danger and Stabler is partially responsible, there will be hell to pay.

Why Was Stabler Narrating the Episode?

The season finale took the unusual step of having Stabler provide narration at the beginning and end about how he felt everything was spinning out of control. 

He visited the graveyard while discussing this, and by the end of the hour, it was revealed that he was talking to Kathy’s grave.

This was an unsurprising development, considering Stabler was married to her for over 30 years and had five children.

His problems with Eli have likely also brought his memories of Kathy to the forefront again.

However, this doesn’t mean there is no hope for Benson and Stabler, as visiting Kathy’s grave could also mean that Stabler is accepting that she is gone and readying himself to move on with someone new.

Over to you, Organized Crime fanatics. What questions do you still have about the finale, and are you planning on following Law & Order: Organized Crime to Peacock for season 5?

Related: Law & Order: Organized Crime’s Renewal Comes With a Major Change That Is Perfect for The Series

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

Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 is streaming on Peacock.

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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