10 Things Law & Order: Organized Crime Revealed About the Stabler Family

10 Things Law & Order: Organized Crime Revealed About the Stabler Family


Since he first appeared in the Law & Order franchise in 1999, Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) has been known for having a big family. In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’s Season 1, Episode 2, “A Single Life,” audiences meet Stabler’s wife, Kathy (Isabel Gillies), and his four children — Maureen, Kathleen, and twins Richard, or “Dickie,” and Elizabeth, or “Lizzie.” Later, in Season 9, Episode 9, “Paternity,” Kathy gives birth to their fifth child, who they name Elliot Jr. and call “Eli.” Throughout his time on SVU, Stabler’s family played an important role in how he operated as a detective, even if the audience didn’t get to spend much time with them.
With Stabler being the central character in Law & Order: Organized Crime, the show capitalized on the opportunity to dive further into Stabler’s family. The show’s success over the first four seasons has come in part from the personal stories that it has been able to focus on by designing the show around cases that last multiple episodes. While the show spends time with each of the main characters, it is Stabler’s family that takes center stage.
Elliot Stabler Is a Grandfather
Fans of SVU watched Elliot Stabler’s children grow up in the 12 seasons he was on the show and were thrilled to see them as adults on Organized Crime — even if their first appearance was because of the murder of Stabler’s wife, Kathy. In the first season, viewers watched as Eli learned how to deal with the loss of his mother and Kathleen went to Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) for help staging an intervention when Elliot’s undiagnosed PTSD began to worry her, but it wasn’t until Season 2 that audiences got to really see Elliot enjoying time with his family.
In Season 2, Episode 9, “The Christmas Episode,” after a tumultuous holiday season, Elliot hosts his family at the new apartment where he lives with his mother, Bernie (Ellen Burstyn), and his youngest, Eli. While Stabler and his family were celebrating the holiday, audiences were introduced to Kieran (Colin Keane) and Seamus (Henry Gross), Stabler’s two grandchildren from his oldest, Maureen (Autumn Mirassou). And while Kieran and Seamus are his first two grandchildren, they definitely won’t be his last.


Ellen Burstyn is the Stabler Matriarch

Ellen Burstyn’s career began in 1958 with the TV series Kraft Theater. She is best known for her roles in The Last Picture Show (1971), The Exorcist (1973), and Requiem for a Dream (2000).
If there is one thing that Organized Crime has made sure its audience knows, it is that Elliot Stabler loves his Mama. When Bernie Stabler was first introduced in SVU’s Season 10, Episode 3, “Swing,” Elliot hadn’t seen her in several years and was only there to see if she would tell a judge that she had bipolar disorder in order to help Elliot’s daughter, Kathleen, who was exhibiting symptoms of the same disorder and was in trouble with the law. Ultimately, it took a visit from Olivia for Bernie to have a conversation with Kathleen about their shared mental health issues.
One of the smartest things the creators of Organized Crime did when launching the show was to create space for Bernie Stabler in Elliot’s life. While Elliot and his family, especially Eli and Kathleen, initially spent much of their time with Bernie dealing with her bipolar disorder, the most recent season saw Elliot and one of his brothers figuring out how to handle the progression of Bernie’s dementia. Stabler’s growth as a character, including a better relationship with his mother, means that fans get to see a whole new side of their favorite detective.
Learning the Truth About His Father Shook Elliot
The Combat Cross is the second-highest award an NYPD officer can receive. It is awarded to officers who “successfully and intelligently perform an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged in personal combat with an armed adversary under circumstances of imminent personal hazard to life.”
In an early season of SVU, Elliot revealed that part of the reason he joined the NYPD was to follow in the footsteps of his father, Joseph Stabler. Even though his father was abusive, particularly to Bernie, there was still part of Elliot that idolized Joe and wanted to be a good cop like him. When Elliot started with the NYPD, Joe finally expressed that he was proud of him by gifting him the combat cross he had received for taking a bullet for his partner.
In Season 2, while undercover with The Brotherhood, a gang of corrupt NYPD cops led by Frank Donnelly (Denis Leary), Stabler learns the truth about his father’s combat cross. Joe Stabler and his partner, Gus Hanson (Paul O’Brien), framed a young man they wanted off the streets, and Joe shot himself in order to do it. Elliot’s feelings about his father only get more complicated when he is awarded his own combat cross for the work he did while undercover with The Brotherhood in Season 2, Episode 22, “Friend or Foe.”

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