While she had a large role in the continued adventures of Elliot Stabler, one “Law & Order: Organized Crime” showrunner didn’t meet the cast for a while. In fact, it wasn’t until the season finale Ilene Chaiken finally got to meet the cast that brings the characters to life.
The reason behind the wait? The COVID-19 pandemic. Like many other industries, the pandemic shutdown productions in Hollywood. Due to social distancing guidelines, personnel and crew stayed segmented away from each other. Additionally, production filmed “Law & Order: Organized Crime” in New York City to be as authentic as possible. This also made crossovers with “Law & Order: SVU” that much easier.
But Chaiken was based out of Los Angeles. She acted as both one of the showrunners and executive producers on the show. During the COVID-19 lockdown, she began to remotely work on the show. But social distancing guidelines prevented her from popping in to visit the set. In an interview with Variety, Chaiken said she didn’t want to put herself or the cast and crew’s health in jeopardy.
As a result, she kept her distance from the show. But Chaiken said it was frustrating staying at arms-length away from “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”
“It was bizarre and somewhat frustrating and alienating,” Chaiken said. “I like to know who’s tall and who’s short and it was just really strange not to have met anyone. I love being on set. It’s an important part of the process in terms of how we understand one another.”
Showrunner on ‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’
The “Law & Order: Organized Crime” showrunner said she didn’t get to meet the cast until the season finale. It was surreal for Chaiken to see the characters’ come to life before her. With season two on the way, maybe she can have a more active role on the set. Chaiken revealed that she and the writers have started working on the second season of “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”
“My writer colleagues are excited to get back in a room together and back on set producing their episodes,” she continued.
It’s not the first time that Chaiken has worked on a production filmed in a different area of the country. Previously, she would fly out to Chicago as showrunner for “Empire” a few years ago. She believes having an active role on set helps to write the characters. She can pick up on how actors like Christopher Meloni are reading certain lines.
“Long before COVID, I observed that when we shoot in a distant location, there’s just less trust of the stories the writers and telling and how we’re telling them,” she said. “If we’re all together, we get to have those conversations.”
With the show due for a second helping, it will be interesting where the writers take the characters next.