Following Law And Order: Organized Crime's Stabler Family Shocker, One Star Shared The Unexpected Way He Found Out About A Big Death

 Kyle Vargas talking to Jet about Morse cod in Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4x11.
Kyle Vargas talking to Jet about Morse cod in Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4x11.

Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 11 of Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4, called "Redcoat."

The stakes are sky-high on Law & Order: Organized Crime by this point in Season 4, and not just because the wait continues on whether or not there will be a Season 5 beyond the spring 2024 TV schedule. While Stabler is no longer undercover at the honey farm/drug operation, the reveal at the end of "Redcoat" confirmed that Joe Jr. is mixed up in the drug ring on a high level, and could even be connected to the death of Sam. In light of the latest shocker, I asked one OC star about his reactions to such twists, and he shared the surprising way he learned about Sam's demise.

Apparently, Joe needed even more of an intervention than his brothers knew! While I can imagine some leniency toward Elliot's youngest brother in other circumstances, Sam's death hit all the members of the task force quite hard. Not only was he a great cop and coworker, but he left behind a heavily pregnant wife and young daughter. It seems unlikely that the characters would pull any punches on anybody who could be connected to that murder, and Elliot is certainly furious in the promo for the penultimate episode of Season 4.

When I spoke with Tate Ellington, who plays AI expert Kyle Vargas, about his character trying his best to help Stabler and the fan campaigns to renew Organized Crime, I asked how he finds out about the massive episode-ending twists of Season 4, and he shared:

Normally when sent a script. It's always kind of fascinating because I'm always eager to get the scripts and sometimes we won't have the script until almost the day before because they're writing this as we're going and doing revisions, and with any TV show there's constantly rewrites for small things here or there. So each time it's been a surprise. Like, I didn't know about Sam until it happened. I got the script when I was getting on a plane to fly back to New York, and I'd fallen asleep so I missed the page where it says 'Sam's body' and got to set that day. We were shooting some other stuff and one of our wonderful costumers was like, 'I can't believe he dies!' And I was like, 'What?!' [laughs] And then I was like 'Oh God, I didn't finish that page! What happened?'

In fairness to Tate Ellington, the reveal that Sam had been killed was pretty easy to miss on screen as well. When Elliot first saw the young cop's body, only the back of his head was visible, and it wasn't until the next episode that it was completely clear that the worst had happened to Sam. Of course, most of us got that confirmation when the episode aired rather than from an Organized Crime costumer! The actor went on to share how much of Season 4 is left to film:

But so anytime we get new stuff, it's always kind of a surprise and it's fun to feel like you're watching the show at the same time and waiting for next week's episode. We wrap up [on] Tuesday, [which] will be our last day of shooting and so I know where it's going. It's a really wonderful build towards where everything's heading.

While it sounds like this "really wonderful build" will be great for those of us watching from home, fans will remember that Organized Crime doesn't shy away from tragedies in season finales. In fact, it was almost exactly one year ago that the last episode of Season 3 killed off Brent Antonello's Detective Jamie Whelan.

Jet and Vargas looking at screen in Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4x02
Jet and Vargas looking at screen in Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4x02

That of course doesn't mean that Season 4 will end on a tragedy, but I'm certainly hoping that we learn if Law & Order: Organized Crime is renewed, moving to stream on Peacock, or cancelled before the finale airs. Tate Ellington went on to share that he's "absolutely" invested in following the story of OC as he gets the script, saying:

Anytime I get anything for work, I love getting the scripts. I love getting to read them. I love getting to see where it's going, and I love getting to see what is happening with all the other characters, or the scenes I don't ever see because there's plenty of stuff where I never see it shot. I never see the performances. So I watch each week [and] I like to know what's happening. I always do my best to keep up with everything and really invested.

This one season of Organized Crime has already done more to expand Stabler's family beyond Kathy and the kids than twelve seasons of Law & Order: SVU by introducing his brothers, heavily featuring his mom, and even dropping some details about his elusive sisters. Ellington is a fan of the Stabler family sequences, as he explained:

I've loved all the scenes they've done for Stabler's family. I think they've done some really beautiful character development with him and seeing stuff you'd never seen before with Stabler. I think it's been a really wonderful season to get to see some of that and see his brothers, see their interactions, see the struggles he has, see the struggles they have with living with a brother and family member who is a police officer and dedicated to his job. So yeah, definitely invested.

Whether the season ends on a wonderful note for the Stabler brothers remains to be seen, as Joe Jr. certainly seems like he's in over his head and Randall seems almost too curious for his own good. The promo for the next episode, called "Goodnight," gives a sneak peek at how well – or not well – Elliot is handling Joey's shady dealings:

Keep tuning in to NBC on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET for new episodes of Law & Order: Organized Crime, following SVU at 9 p.m. ET and the original Law & Order at 8 p.m. ET. You can also find all three shows streaming next day with a Peacock Premium subscription, with the possibility that OC will become a Peacock original in the 2024-2025 TV season.