(Warning: This post contains spoilers from the series premiere of “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”)
Last Thursday’s debut of “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” which was really a two-hour premiere if you count Elliot Stabler’s (Christopher Meloni) return to “SVU” airing ahead of the first episode of his spinoff, wasted no time in introducing us to the show’s big bad: online-pharmaceutical crime boss Richard Wheatley (played by Dylan McDermott). And the second episode of “Organized Crime” will waste no time introducing him to Stabler, as you can see in the teaser photo above.
“There’s definitely a confrontation soon,” McDermott told TheWrap. “And Richard is always up for the task. He’s not an easy man to bring down just because you approach him or accuse him. He has a lot of grit and a lot of power and a lot of stamina and I think that Stabler does, too. That’s why I think this season is going to be so compelling because you have these two very powerful characters butting heads. You’re going to get a nice taste of it [this] week.”
Episode 1 of “Organized Crime” showed the continuation of Stabler’s journey after his wife, Kathy (Isabel Gillies), was murdered in a car bomb explosion meant for Stabler during his reunion with his former partner, Olivia Benson (Mariska Gargitay) on “SVU.” Elliot was on his way to meet Richard’s father, Manfredi Sinatra (Chazz Palminteri), at the end of the premiere for a lead on who was responsible for Kathy’s death, but arrived to find his dead body — not knowing that Richard was the one who killed his father to prevent him from pinning the murder on him.
McDermott says this helped establish who his character was right off the bat — as did the scenes where he’s being a dotting father.
“The good thing about Richard is he’s a great dad. He loves his children, he cares for them. He overcompensates because he never had that with his own father, which I think is where there is such a deep-seated resentment,” the “American Horror Story” alum says. “And his father is obviously a racist as well, so it just doesn’t go well. And obviously Richard is a sociopath, in many ways, not that I would tell him that. He just, there is something about him. Like it talks about in the promos, he’s a new criminal. It’s not your father’s mafia guy. There’s something about Richard that is the next-level generation of criminal. And that’s a great thing to play because it’s so intricate and multi-dimensional. So I think you’re going to see Richard do a lot of crazy things. But at the core of him is a man who really loves his family.”
And we find find out that that extend to Richard’s ex-wife, Angela (Tamara Taylor), with whom he shares two children and many secrets about his business.
“I think everybody is complicit in some way, because it is a family. He also, with Angela, it’s a very complicated relationship he has with her and they have together,” McDermott said. “And there is some sort of addictive love they have for each other. And she’s well aware, I think, of who Richard is and I think they have that push-pull with each other that they can’t let go of one another, even though they are divorced.”
McDermott’s “favorite part” about the Dick Wolf series is how it’s different from the previous iterations of “Law & Order,” “because you get to go home with the bad guy.”
“You get to meet his family and you get to see him in a different light, rather than just doing bad things. Which I think is great, because it makes him much more three-dimensional. So I think that’s really fun to see how the other half lives.”
“Law & Order: Organized Crime” airs Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC.