Dylan McDermott’s wild ride as Richard Wheatley is about to come to an end on Law & Order: Organized Crime. The actor first joined in season 1 as the drug cartel owner and formidable foe to Christopher Meloni, who made his return to the Law & Order franchise as Elliot Stabler in the spinoff.
Since then, McDermott has become a fan favorite as well as a welcome addition to creator Dick Wolf’s ever-expanding TV universe. So much so that he was recruited to take over as lead on FBI: Most Wanted following Julian McMahon's exit from the CBS procedural.
Ahead of McDermott’s final episode on March 3, which closes out Wheatley’s chapter and starts a new one focused on Preston Webb (Mykelti Williamson), Meloni reflects on the time spent with his co-star. “Look, I’ll miss every aspect of him,” Meloni tells ET.
“He was good in front of the camera. He was great when it was off,” the star continues, acknowledging McDermott’s “cheeky sensibility and good sense of humor.”
Meloni ends by saying, “So, I wish him the best.”
While McDermott is on his way out, Denis Leary is making his Law & Order debut as NYPD officer Frank Donnelly in tonight’s episode of Organized Crime. His character, an officer from a nearby precinct, has a past with Stabler – their fathers were on the force together – and the show will see the two rekindle their friendship.
“That is really cool,” Meloni says of the new addition, adding that working with Leary is “a hidden dream come true for me. I really have been doing some fun stuff.”
Leary’s addition to the series comes ahead of Jennifer Beals’ anticipated debut as the wife of Webb, a drug kingpin and leader of the Marcy organization, and someone the actress says has “good” intentions.
Leary and Beals follow a string of notable stars that have appeared on the series, including McDermott, Tamara Taylor as Wheatley’s wife, Angela, Ron Cephas Jones as Congressman Leon Kilbride, Vinnie Jones as Albanian gangster Albi Briscu, Michael Raymond-James as crime boss Jon Kosta and Guillermo Díaz as Lt. William Brewster.
Tonight’s new episode of Organized Crime also closes out a three-hour block of Law & Order originals, with the mothership series returning with season 21 and Special Victims Unit airing in between. When it comes to the new Law & Order Thursdays, Meloni says “it’s long overdue.”
“I’m very excited about it… I think it’s a perfect fit,” he concludes.