‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’: Here’s Who Is Replacing Ilene Chaiken as Showrunner

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Well into season two, Law & Order: Organized Crime is changing its showrunner.

Deadline reported that Ilene Chaiken is out as executive producer after 14 months with Law & Order: Organized Crime. Barry O’Brien now takes over the show. He’d been co-executive EP since November, so the transition likely will be a smooth one.

“Ilene did a terrific job launching the series and is a gifted writer,” said Law & Order: Organized Crime creator Dick Wolf. “She leaves the show in good hands and we are incredibly grateful for her contributions.”

You’re probably familiar with O’Brien’s work. He served as showrunner for CSI: Miami and Castle. Chaiken also was a well-known EP and writer. Her work included Handmaids Tale to Empire. She even worked as a coordinating producer on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air back in the 1990s.

Law & Order: Organized Crime Still Has Five Episodes to Produce

Deadline reported that the show still has five episodes left to film. All those episodes involve the third story arc of season two. Those will have Elliot Stabler and the task force taking on the Marcy Killers, a criminal gang masked as a legitimate business.

Chaiken became the Law & Order: Organized Crime showrunner in December 2020, four months before the then-new show premiered on NBC. Matt Olmstead was the first EP.

The spinoff started as a starring vehicle for Christopher Meloni to return to the franchise after a decade-long absence. His Elliot Stabler first was a major character on Law & Order: SVU.

Organized Crime returned with a new episode this past Thursday after sitting out a month for the Winter Olympics. And the show wasted no time jumping back into the Richard Wheatley storyline. (Read Outsider coverage of the episode here.)

At the end of the episode, all of New York went dark. That’s because Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) took down “Big Alex,” the substation controlling the city’s electrical grid.

Then Stabler (Christopher Meloni) summed up the situation: “Richard Wheatley just took the whole city hostage.” Law & Order: Organized Crime drew a same-day audience of 3.42 million. That was the biggest audience since Dec. 9, the episode that introduced the Wheatley story arc.

Will We Say a Final Good Bye to Richard Wheatley Next Week?

Next Thursday’s episode wraps up the story arc. It’s called “Wheatley is to Stabler.” Law & Order: Organized Crime promos are teasing a final confrontation between Stabler and Wheatley.

“I want Stabler to pay with his very soul,” Wheatley says. Stabler already has paid with his wife, Kathy. And it appears Wheatley has kidnapped Bernie, Stabler’s mother.

Stabler mocks Wheatley, too, taunting him: “This is not going to end the way you think it is.”

There should be a definitive ending to the Wheatley chapter. McDermott is leaving Law & Order: Organized Crime to replace Julian McMahon in FBI: Most Wanted. And with Wheatley out of the way, the show switches to the characters involved with the Marcy Killers. That includes Mykelti Williamson (Forrest Gump) as Preston Webb, Jennifer Beals (Flashdance) as his wife and Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us) as Congressman Leon Kilbride, the crooked politician.

Outsider.com