Warning: This post contains spoilers from this week’s Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime crossover. DUN DUN!
Every time a bell rings, Law & Order‘s Richard Wheatley gets away with some truly terrible ish. So we wouldn’t be surprised if you heard a deafening clanging as SVU and Organized Crime‘s latest crossover came to an end Thursday… because the drug kingpin/murderer left his murder trial as a free man.
After a contentious stint in the courtroom, with returning former assistant district attorney Rafael Barba as his legal counsel, Wheatley’s trial for the killing of Kathy Stabler ended in a mistrial. And when the District Attorney’s office chose not to re-try the case, Wheatley walked. To add insult to grievous injury, we learned that Angela Wheatley — Richard’s ex, whom he’s tried to kill twice — faked having lingering damage from the poison attack at the end of Season 1. This led to her falling apart as the lynchpin of the case against him. And in a scene at the end of the Organized Crime portion of the crossover, it seemed as though Angela, Richard and their daughter Dana all were working together again… unbeknownst to the cops. (Read recaps of the SVU and Organized Crime portions of the crossover.)
In separate interviews, TVLine spoke with Organized Crime‘s Tamara Taylor and SVU‘s Peter Scanavino about the outcome of the episodes and what it’ll mean for their characters as the seasons progress. Read on to hear what they had to say.
TVLINE | I had such a complex reaction to Angela’s treachery in these episodes! Because at first, I was like, “She’s a mastermind right alongside Richard.” But she also was definitely poisoned by this man.
TAMARA TAYLOR | Yeah, she absolutely was.
TVLINE | That was not a con. She almost died.
TAYLOR |And let’s not forget, she almost died. [Laughs] … I think that you may feel for Angela on the stand. That’s my hope, is that people are like, “Damn, she really gave it all up. She’s in rough shape and may not ever recover, all to take down this man, her ex.” But the funny thing is, what I sort of unpacked about Angela — and what the writers have been talking about, and [showrunner] Ilene [Chaiken], who I just love — is that… after the trial, after the verdict, what happens generally to people that have been protected is that they’re just left high and dry. So, Angela’s left with nothing, no protection against the man that tried to kill her twice. So, what does one do? Appear to be a non-threat, perhaps appear to ally with him? Whatever you need to do to stay alive, and to keep your kid alive… There’s definitely a razor’s edge, man. [Laughs] She’s walking it.
TVLINE | That part on the stand when she talks about her feelings for Stabler: How much is an angle versus how much might actually be true? Or maybe both can exist at the same time?
TAYLOR | I think we established in the first season that it feels like she plays Richard. She’s five steps ahead of Richard. She’s smarter than him, she always has been, and she plays him like a chess piece.
Stabler, I think, she’s disarmingly honest with. He’s, unexpectedly, the one person she can let down her guard with, because she certainly can’t grieve with Richard. He’s a sociopath, a malignant narcissist. So, there is no doing that over there. She can actually sort of be vulnerable with [Stabler]. So what she feels about their connection is real. You know?
TVLINE | Yup. You bring up something interesting: the idea that Angela might not be allied with Richard, but might definitely be allied with her kids — that there’s this horrible gray area she’s stuck in.
TAYLOR | An incredibly terrible gray area, yeah. What I pray the audience will remember — because as I’m reading some pretty wild stuff (by the way, the writers are going to town), I hope that everyone remembers what I am challenged to remember, which is that Angela knows that Richard killed her son, and tried to kill her twice. Is there any way in hell she’d ally, that she’d actually go back with him for real? I don’t think so. In my heart of hearts, I just don’t think, unless she’s a madwoman herself, and that’s where she ends up, and I don’t think she is. So, I think she’s playing an angle.
TVLINE | Wheatley threatens to kill Carisi, right there in open court.
PETER SCANAVINO | Yeah.
TVLINE | Given that this man has killed many people in the short time we’ve known hm, how much is that on Carisi’s mind, moving forward?
SCANAVINO | [Carisi] probably thinks that’d be a pretty bold move. I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest. I don’t think that’s weighing on him. He knows that Wheatley’s a dangerous man, and I don’t think that makes him any more dangerous to him. I think Carisi always knew he was capable of that, and it doesn’t quite make a difference if he says it out loud or not. I think he knows that, in some ways, is on the table.
TVLINE | Talk to me about Angela and Benson, who don’t have much interaction in the crossover but who are certainly aware of each other.
TAYLOR | I don’t think that they’re archenemies. Benson’s just amazingly compassionate, and she’s a grown-up, and understands that life can be messy and weird. And I think Angela is well aware of what Benson means to Stabler, and who she is to him, and we’re just grown women. We don’t have to be fighting.
TVLINE | Will you be back this season?
I am back. It’s not just the crossover. I am back for the full Wheatley storyline.
TVLINE | And Richard is completely free by the end of the episodes.
TAYLOR | Yes, he is. Beyond completely free, he’s now working with the FBI. You’re just like, how the hell did this man manage to do it?!… [It’s] definitely not good for Angela at all. So Angela has to resort to some pretty drastic measures in order to make sure she’s OK.
TVLINE | The audience knows, by the end, that Angela was faking. But the police don’t know that… yet. Do you think she’s worried about losing those allies?
TAYLOR | You know, I would be. [Laughs] I think I would be as a human, but Angela has probably weighed and measured who’s scarier. You know, who stands a chance of killing you again. Or at least attempting to kill you again. So, it’s funky, because on the stand, knowing what we know at the end of the Organized Crime episode, you’re like, “Why? Why was she like this on the stand?” She could’ve put Richard away, and it wouldn’t have been a problem. Like, come on! [Laughs] But I think she is sufficiently afraid of him.