Did Law And Order: Organized Crime Rule Out An FBI Crossover With New Character Debut?
Law & Order: Organized Crime delved into Ayanna Bell’s background in the latest episode, while also alluding to Stabler’s feelings for Benson that were covered (more or less) on SVU and setting Jet up for what looks like a dangerous storyline. In the process, the newest Law & Order spinoff introduced a new character played by an FBI alum, which immediately made me wonder: does Kathleen Munroe’s new L&O character rule out an Organized Crime/FBI crossover?
How Law & Order: OC Is Already Connected To FBI
Now, under normal circumstances, there’d be no point in even speculating about character crossovers between two different shows on two different networks, but NBC’s Law & Order: Organized Crime and CBS’ FBI are connected through a few degrees of separation under the Wolf Entertainment banner. With the three FBIs sharing a TV universe with the three Law & Orders as well as the trio of One Chicago shows, the ties are there.
And it’s all thanks to Chicago P.D.! One Chicago officially joined the L&O universe back in 2014 thanks to a P.D. crossover with SVU, and then joined the FBI universe when Tracy Spiridakos crossed over to FBI as her Chicago P.D. character back in 2020. None of the L&O shows have shared characters with any of the FBIs so far, but Chicago P.D. is a bridge that connects the nine Wolf Entertainment shows.
How Law & Order: OC Introduced A Former FBI Star
Kathleen Munroe debuted in Organized Crime in the Season 3 episode that aired on January 26. She plays Rika Harold, an investigator specializing in white collar and organized crime for the D.A.’s office. She was previously a homicide detective in Louisiana (not unlike a certain agent on FBI: Most Wanted), and floated the idea to Stabler that a particularly nasty criminal is getting protection from the NYPD and/or the Feds. Rika name-dropped Benson to Stabler while trying to win him over to join forces, and seems like a pretty upstanding new character… even if Stabler sees her as a complication.
Over on FBI, Kathleen Munroe played ADIC Rina Trenholm in the third and fourth seasons before she was shot and tragically killed, to the devastation of Jeremy Sisto’s Agent Jubal Valentine. The actress was never a series regular on the CBS show, but she was central to some storylines and her death was a turning point in Season 4. Basically, even if the show doesn’t dwell on Rina’s death on a regular basis (and a different issue actually drove Jubal to drink again), none of the characters there forget her any time soon.
Does It Really Rule Out A Crossover?
On the one hand, it’s hard to ignore that Kathleen Munroe has played two characters in the same city, in shows set in the same TV universe, with first names that are just one letter apart from being identical. She debuted on Organized Crime nearly a year to the date from when FBI revealed that Rina had died, so not much time has passed. As a viewer of all nine Wolf shows, I immediately recognized OC’s Rika as FBI’s Rina.
On the other hand, the nine-show Wolf Universe is practically filled with actors who have played multiple characters. In fact, FBI’s Alana de la Garza and Jeremy Sisto are both Law & Order alums, and Sisto even weighed in on the idea of a crossover. Season 4 newcomer Edwin Hodge came to FBI: Most Wanted after a stint on Chicago Fire.
Most notably, Dylan McDermott went straight from playing Stabler’s nemesis on OC to playing an FBI agent on Most Wanted, and FBI: International’s Luke Kleintank has revealed that he would have quit acting if he hadn’t landed a role on SVU years before playing Agent Scott Forrester. Even stars like Peter Scanavino and Kelli Giddish of SVU played different characters in their own show before returning as series regulars years later.
So on the whole, I’d say that Kathleen Munroe playing Rika on OC just a year after playing Rina on FBI isn’t exactly going to break the space-time continuum of the Wolf Entertainment universe. Personally, I get a kick out of it whenever stars hop from one show to the other without any on-screen explanation. Would it have made more sense if Munroe had rejoined the universe via One Chicago, or after more time had passed between Rina's death and Rika's debut? Perhaps, but I’ve suspended my disbelief for more extreme twists than this!
Plus, the NBC shows are only connected to the FBIs via Tracy Spiridakos appearing in one episode of one of the CBS series, so it’s not like the Law & Orders are likely to cross over with the FBIs any time soon. The FBIs themselves have a big crossover on the way in the not-too-distant future! For now, I’d say that viewers should just suspend their disbelief about Rina vs. Rika and enjoy what Munroe brings to Stabler’s investigation.
New episodes of Law & Order: Organized Crime air on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, following Law & Order: SVU at 9 p.m. and Law & Order at 8 p.m. If you missed Kathleen Munroe’s first episode of OC, you can find it streaming with a Peacock Premium subscription.