Entertaining as it is, Law & Order: Organized Crime is far from real life. One of the compelling narratives in Season 2 of the show thus far has been Elliot Stabler’s undercover work with the Albanians. Undercover work is a very real thing in certain aspects of law enforcement, but there are some hard and fast rules by which the agents must abide.
Let’s just say Chris Meloni’s Elliot Stabler is pushing those rules to the limit. To be fair, his back was against the wall, and the actions he took not only protected himself but maintained his undercover identity. However, it raises some questions. Namely, were Stabler’s actions legal? If not, will he be arrested for them?
Let’s start with a relatively tame one. Fans of Law & Order: Organized Crime will remember a few weeks ago when Stabler made his drug-addled confession to Benson. Well, taking drugs to maintain a cover is not allowed. At least, according to Oregon’s Undercover Safety and Operation Procedures, it’s not.
“At no time will an officer consume controlled substances as a part of the undercover role,” the statute reads.
Stabler didn’t necessarily have a choice here. After breaking up a would-be fight between the Albanians and Italians, Meloni’s Stabler’s Eddie Wagner (we know) is suddenly hit with a dose of an unknown substance. He didn’t seek it out. Instead, a woman who had sprayed the substance on her own tongue kissed him.
He’s probably in the clear on this one, as far the law is concerned. Though he does say that he’d be off the case if Benson or Bell reported it.
‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ Fans Weigh In On Stabler’s Undercover Legality
Leave it to the internet to ask the important questions. A Redditor recently started a thread asking about what’s allowed for undercover cops in real life.
“I’ve been pondering this all season as Stabler commits one felony (accessory to murder, corpse tampering, arson) after another just so he can get to Costa,” the post continued.
Yeah. Just a bit more serious than an accidental drugging, wouldn’t you say? The Oregon undercover statutes are explicitly clear on this.
“An undercover member will not commit criminal offenses for the purpose of disguising that he/she is a police officer,” Procedure 640.95 reads.
Granted, the NYPD very well may operate under different requirements. But it’s probably safe to say destroying a crime scene and burying a body for a criminal organization isn’t going to go over very well in the debriefing.
In short, yes. Elliot Stabler, undercover as Eddie Wagner, could very easily face charges for what he has done. Whether or not the show decides to go that route, real-life Stabler’s career would likely be over.