Showrunner Ilene Chaiken defended what has been called "fridging," or using a dead female character as motivation for a male protagonist. "When I joined this show, it was a fait accompli — a premise I was given to work with. I wasn't in any way put off by it — I was immediately drawn in," Chaiken said in a call with reporters. "When you tell a story about a character who's been gone for many years, a question you have to answer is 'why now?' (The death) as a storytelling catalyst is one of the best 'why nows' I could think of." Law & Order creator and executive producer Dick Wolf called the plot point "one of the most dramatic teasers I can remember on any show. I didn't see anything that was critical of that storytelling choice, (but) you can't please all the people any of the time."