What happened to Elliot Stabler's father in Law & Order?

Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 will bring us more of the Stabler family. Some of it is linked to Elliot's father.

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME -- "All In The Game" Episode 314 -- Pictured: Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler -- (Photo by: Francisco Roman/NBC)
LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME -- "All In The Game" Episode 314 -- Pictured: Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler -- (Photo by: Francisco Roman/NBC) /
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We’re going to meet Elliot Stabler’s two brothers in Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4. There is a connection to the past that involves their father, and now fans are curious about what happened to him.

There is a lot we don’t know about Stabler’s past. While we have seen his mother a few times, there have only been mentions of his brothers and father. In fact, despite him being a major part into Elliot’s decision to join the police, we have never met Joseph Stabler.

It wasn’t a good upbringing for the Stabler brothers. We’re sure to learn more with the introduction of the brothers, but here’s what we know so far about the NYPD detective.

Joseph Stabler was an NYPD detective in the ‘60s

We have learned that Stabler is not the first cop of the family. Joseph was an NYPD detective in the 1960s, a time when a lot of bad things happened and people turned a blind eye to. Elliot learned more about his father’s work as he went through old cases.

In fact, Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 brought us more of Joseph’s time in the police force. He and his former partner framed a kid for a shooting. This was the case that earned Joseph a Combat Cross, and he never got a chance to defend his actions as the character was dead before the events of the Law & Order spin-off series. Elliot alluded to his father dying before Law & Order: SVU Season 3.

Elliot’s home life before Law & Order

We did learn that Elliot didn’t have a great upbringing with his father. While it was Joseph who inspired Elliot to become a cop, it turns out that Joseph was psychologically abusive. It’s not clear if it was to all sons or just to certain ones. There are a lot of cases where only one sibling ends up on the receiving end of abuse.

We know that Randall Stabler is still angry about something that involved Elliot and their dad. We don’t have the details yet, but it is possible that Elliot was the favored child while Randall faced most of the abuse. It’s going to be exciting to see more of this storyline unfold.

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Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 4 premieres on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 10/9c on NBC. Catch up on the series on Peacock.