How Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 Deals With That Big Finale Death

The absence of Jamie Whelan looms large over the Law & Order: Organized Crime season 4 premiere.

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME -- "With Many Names" Episode 322 -- Pictured: Brent Antonello as Detective Jamie Whelan
Photo: Peter Kramer | NBC

This article contains spoilers for Law & Order: Organized Crime season 4 episode 1.

In the season three finale of Law & Order: Organized Crime, fans were shocked when Detective Jamie Whelan was shot in the neck and killed off after the bullet went through his spine. The injury had Whelan convinced he would never walk again as he lost all feeling in his upper and lower body, despite Jet Slootmaekers (Ainsley Seiger) and Bobby Reyes’ (Rick Gonzalez) assurance that he would be okay. After hearing Jet say that she loves him over the phone, he asks Reyes to let him go, insisting that he can’t and won’t live this way. 

Of course, Reyes refuses to disconnect the plugs, but when he leaves the room so that Whelan’s father could visit, it seems that his father did exactly what his son asked for. We see the doctors rush in as he flatlines then slowly witness the devastated reactions from each member of the team, Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) later tells Olivia Benson that the whole thing made him think about how precious life is. It’s extremely difficult to watch and a loss not only felt by the team, but by the viewers who have grown to love this character. 

Skipping ahead to the season four premiere, which opens with Stabler recalling Whelan’s death, shows the detective is still on an undercover assignment that was mentioned in the finale. After getting arrested and losing the perp, he comes back to work determined to find him and save the operation. Sergeant Ayanna Bell (Danielle Moné Truitt) makes him take a breath and Stabler immediately turns his attention to his colleagues. Bell fills him in on how both Jet and Reyes are doing; Jet is keeping everything close to the vest while Reyes is throwing himself into work too much. 

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Considering how close they both were to Whelan, it’s not a surprise. Stabler points out that Whelan left a big hole in the team and Bell agrees, pointing out that there is a lot more healing he personally needs to do in more ways than one. Despite none of them being over the loss, they have a new member joining the team: Dr. Kyle Vargas (Tate Ellington). He specializes in tech, specifically AI, but Stabler wants no part of him, especially after he goes to set up at Jamie’s desk before being immediately stopped by everyone. Bell comments that this thing he built could’ve possibly saved Whelan, so she wants Stabler to give it a chance. 

Before the episode ends, Reyes visits Jet at home to make sure she’s okay after the fentanyl poisoning from their undercover mission together and it seems that through the loss of Whelan, who they both loved, they are becoming closer. The question of how close is quickly answered after the two kiss and the door is kicked shut. It’s also revealed that this isn’t the first time the two have gotten together. 

When it comes to a procedural like Law & Order, it’s hard to spend too much time focusing on events that happened in previous seasons or even episodes. However, it’s clear that Whelan’s death will continue to be felt by each member of the squad in different ways, both in their work and personal lives. It will be interesting to see how they all heal from this and if the team can recover from losing such a strong force. 

New episodes of Law & Order season 23, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit season 25, and Law & Order: Organized Crime season 4 air Thursdays at 8 p.m., 9 p.m., and 10 p.m. ET on NBC.