LAW & ORDER: Ilene Chaiken and Danielle Moné Truitt Preview Wheatley's Return in the SVU-ORGANIZED CRIME Crossover - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LAW & ORDER: Ilene Chaiken and Danielle Moné Truitt Preview Wheatley’s Return in the SVU-ORGANIZED CRIME Crossover

December 2, 2021 by  

Richard Wheatley trial

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME — “The Man With No Identity” Episode 201 — Pictured: Dylan McDermott as Richard Wheatley — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

The final new LAW & ORDER Thursday of 2021 finds the SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT and ORGANIZED CRIME world contending with one of their biggest foes yet: Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott).

In the “People vs. Richard Wheatley” hour (airing Thursday, December 9 at 9/8c), Wheatley is finally on trial for the murder of Kathy Stabler…and he’s recruited former ADA Rafael Barba (Raúl Esparza) to represent him. Though Wheatley has a whole list of crimes he’s responsible for—he was the main foe of ORGANIZED CRIME’s freshman season—thanks to legal maneuvering and cooperating with authorities, this is the sole charge he’s currently facing.

To craft the two-hour event, the SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT and ORGANIZED CRIME writers once again “collaborated very closely,” OC boss Ilene Chaiken says. “They collaborated on our hour, we collaborated on their hour. We were telling a story that truly is a crossover. And we both shared ideas and respected one another’s mythology, if you will.”

Since viewers last saw Wheatley, “he’s been very well-behaved,” Chaiken deadpans. “I’m sure that you’ll feel when you see him that he’s a completely redeemed man.”

New to the mix is Barba, whose decision to take the high-profile case doesn’t sit well with his former SVU colleagues, including now-ADA Carisi (Peter Scanavino).  And when Barba gets the trial’s witnesses on the stand, there are some fireworks.

“You’ll see [Bell] speak the truth of what happened with our case, and what she believes to be true about Wheatley,” ORGANIZE CRIME’s Danielle Moné Truitt, who plays Sergeant Bell, previews. “Raúl was awesome. We had so much fun on set just shooting the court scene. I was testifying and [Barba] was badgering me with crazy questions and assumptions. It was a lot of him saying certain stuff and me looking at him like he’s crazy.”

“There’s a whole bunch of ‘objection,’ ‘objection,’ ‘objection’ when he was there, because he was just spouting off stuff that has nothing to do with the case—he knows what he’s doing,” she continues. “He’s doing it on purpose, because regardless if it has to do with the case or not, it can paint a picture with the jury. He’s definitely good at what he does.”

Of course, Richard isn’t the only member of the Wheatley family in play in the crossover. Truitt teases Bell is “also trying to help Angela, to prepare her to be one of the key witnesses.”

And, “Richie, his son, is still in prison. He’s in prison in Canada on a CW show,” Chaiken jokes, referring to Nick Creegan’s commitment to the Vancouver-based BATWOMAN. But despite that minor hurdle, the franchise found a way to bring Richie back for Richard Wheatley’s trial.

But, as the squads are very aware, the stakes of the trial aren’t just about getting justice for Kathy’s death or closure for her widow, OC’s Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni), and his family. SVU’s Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) was lured to the hospital by Wheatley at the end of OC season 1—and she and Stabler believe Wheatley was behind her car crash earlier in the season. But are the duo actually correct about the danger she’s in?

“I’m not going to answer too explicitly, because I think that that would be spoilers, but know that we get into it,” Chaiken teases. “I would say more in the first hour than in the second, but it’s definitely there. It’s present throughout. And you’ll begin to see how Wheatley is proceeding with his nefarious plan.”

And with secrets potentially coming to light at the trial, Chaiken reiterates Elliot and Olivia will actually talk about what’s going on.

“They’re very busy cops who have a lot of other very urgent things on their plates that [has kept] them away from one another and from having these conversations [before],” she previews. “But the truth is that they will have those conversations. Like I keep saying, we’re really determined not to be coy about it and to just really let them grow.”




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