It took a long time for Christopher Meloni's Det. Elliot Stabler to return to prime time, and now we have to say goodbye: Thursday night marks the season 1 finale of Law & Order: Organized Crime. Here, executive producer Ilene Chaiken talks about what to expect from the final hour of the NBC drama and the future of the franchise, including whether we'll see more of Olivia Benson (and other Law & Order characters) in Stabler's world.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you started your season, did you know how it was going to end?
ILENE CHAIKEN: Mostly but not entirely. We evolve as we carried on, but we had mapped out the season pretty well.
When you started on the show, you said you would tackle one major story line per season. So will we see a resolution in this finale?
You'll see a lot of surprises and hopefully some gasp-worthy moments. There will be some resolution, but not an ending. Yes, the story resolves itself in many ways. And when we come back in the fall, we will begin a new story. But that doesn't mean we're simply going to drop these threads.
Virginia Sherwood/NBC Christopher Meloni in 'Law & Order: Organized Crime'
Are you saying we may still see Dylan McDermott's Richard Wheatley in season 2?
Wheatley's influence will certainly remain in our world. It's too soon to say whether Richard Wheatley will return, but I will say we certainly hope he will. At the same time, we'll be picking up season 2 with a new crime story and a new major adversary, but Wheatley could very well make an appearance, or two, or four in the future.
Can you be a bit more specific about what we can expect in the finale? Will there be any deaths? What about sex?
Sex and death! You're asking really tricky questions. We have to somehow separate the two. They're always there. They're always in the subtext if not in the text itself. We're telling stories about crime, yes, but also about love and longing and suppressed feelings and simmering relationships. Those are always playing in our stories.
There were a lot of crossovers between Special Victims Unit and Organized Crime this season. Will there be more in the future?
We will certainly do more crossovers. We're now part of an entire night of Law & Order. It offers us a lot of opportunities to intersect our stories. There's no set number, no formula for it. And yes, I learned a lot about the complexities of doing a crossover and doing them successfully. One of the things I think will work better for us in this upcoming season is that our shows are all starting at the same time. We will be more or less on the same schedule. So we'll be able to coordinate better and plan these events better.
Do you already know who your mob figure will be for season 2?
I have some thoughts about it, but we have not cast the role yet.
I don't suppose you've heard from any real mob figures since you've been doing this show, have you?
No. I mean, I hear from consultants, but I'd love to hear from some real mob figures whether or not we touched a nerve in any way. Having said that, now it makes me a little nervous because I don't want to hear too much.