At a virtual junket for Law & Order: Organized Crime today, stars Christopher Meloni and Dylan McDermott teased the inevitable face-off to come between Meloni’s Detective Elliot Stabler, and McDermott’s mafia boss, Richard Wheatley, as the NBC spin-off’s Season 1 finale approaches.
“We have an altercation or two, or an interaction or two. You know, our courses must intersect. I think [Wheatley’s] going to get the short end of that deal,” said Meloni. “A lot of things get answered, but then a couple other big questions arise, so there’s going to be a continuing saga, I believe.”
While Stabler believes Wheatley played a role in the murder of his wife, Kathy (Isabel Gillies), tensions going forward between the two also have to do with Stabler’s multiple new romantic interests. While romancing his former SVU partner, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), he is also on the verge of a possible fling with Wheatley’s ex-wife, Angela (Tamara Taylor).
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“That’s a very tangled arena,” admitted Meloni. “Stabler’s in a place that he’s never found himself before. He’s always been assured of walking on terra firma, and now, everything is shifting beneath his feet, and I just think he is overwhelmed, and confusing comfort, succor, affection, for love. I think he is lost in that world, and we’re going to see where it comes out, but he has a lot to unpack.”
“There’s no shame with this guy,” joked McDermott. “He’s grieving, he’s got this woman, he’s got that. It’s like, what? See, honestly, this is why I don’t like him. You see Richard, he’s a family man.”
In conversation with Deadline, Meloni also discussed the possibility of future Law & Order crossovers. Of course, Season 1 of Organized Crime began with a crossover appearance from Hargitay, with Meloni appearing at the same time on SVU, and there have been plenty of other SVU crossovers this season thus far. While Meloni couldn’t confirm plans for ongoing crossovers within the Law & Order universe, in the vein of those done with Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise, he said he heard “a rumor” that Wolf’s new spin-off, For the Defense, “might be a perfect offshoot for my friend here [Wheatley] to weasel out of the charges from Organized Crime.”
“That’s just a rumor, so I can’t confirm or deny,” Meloni reiterated. “But I actually just was discussing with the showrunner, Ilene Chaiken, getting together over shrimp and whiskey and figuring out where we go from here. We’re just so thoroughly focused and entrenched in getting these first eight done and hammering out 108, which will be the last of this particular series. It’s just, all hands are on deck right now.”
While we’ll have to wait to see if there’s any truth behind the rumors Meloni discussed, McDermott confirmed that thus far, he has signed on for just eight episodes as mobster Wheatley. “We are going into the eight episode tomorrow, I believe, so that was my deal with the show,” he said, “and after that, I really don’t know.”
Even if McDermott isn’t in the know about Wheatley’s fate, he’s more than willing to stick around and appear in Wolf’s other spin-offs. “I’m just going to keep going from one show to the next for a long time,” he said. “That will be my career now.”
Meloni joked that McDermott is “going to play a doctor on Chicago Med.”
“I’ll do it all,” the actor responded. “Whatever Dick asks, I’m there.”
Created by Wolf, Chaiken and Matt Olmstead, Organized Crime is the seventh series in the Law & Order franchise. The police procedural debuted on April 1, seeing Meloni reprise his role as Stabler for the first time in 10 years.
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