‘Organized Crime’: Danielle Moné Truitt on Bell’s Concerns About Kilbride & Wheatley’s Trial

Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler, Danielle Moné Truitt as Sgt. Ayanna Bell in Law & Order Organized Crime
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Law & Order: Organized Crime Season 2 Episode 8 “Ashes to Ashes.”]

With the end of the Kosta arc on Law & Order: Organized Crime — Season 2 is split into three parts — comes farewell to Detective Elliot Stabler’s (Christopher Meloni) undercover persona of Eddie Ashes… and his beard. But what’s not going away is Congressman Leon Kilbride (Ron Cephas Jones), who has his eye on Sergeant Ayanna Bell (Danielle Moné Truitt) and how she can be useful to him.

But next up is Richard Wheatley’s (Dylan McDermott) trial for Kathy Stabler’s (Isabel Gillies) murder, and that will bring together SVU and Organized Crime in a crossover on December 9. Raúl Esparza returns as Rafael Barba to defend Wheatley. Read what Truitt had to say about that here, then keep reading as she says goodbye to the Kosta storyline and previews what’s ahead.

How is Bell feeling about having Stabler back full time? Should she be worried given that there’s this question of how much he might miss being Eddie?

Danielle Moné Truitt: It’s definitely something that Bell thinks about. The first thought, the first feeling she gets about something, she doesn’t jump at it. She watches to see what someone’s going to do … She knows after being undercover for any amount of time, it can definitely do a bit of work on the psyche. Bell is a good leader and she definitely cares about Stabler so she’s happy though that he did get this win.

The whole Wheatley situation, we kinda got a win because he got arrested, but then, as far as him getting convicted of everything, it didn’t really work out the way that we planned it. And we’re waiting to see if he’s going to go down for Kathy Stabler, so she’s happy that Stabler did get this win, that the Kosta organization is getting indicted and that Reggie is alive and they were able to get him out. So she definitely has her eye on [Stabler] to see where he was emotionally as the season continues

Ron Cephas Jones as Congressman Kilbride, Danielle Moné Truitt as Sgt. Ayanna Bell in Law & Order Organized CrimeVirginia Sherwood/NBC

But now I’m concerned about Bell, given Nova’s [Nona Parker Johnson] message about Kilbride and he wants to use her as an asset. So how is Bell feeling about the Congressman?

From the jump, she was leery about him. So number one, it’s good for her to have her suspicions confirmed. But number two, she feels like she’s in a dangerous situation because he did her a couple of favors — got her into that party, and then also worked it out for Denise’s nephew to get way more money than was originally offered to him — so she knows he’s going to be looking for her to reciprocate in some kind of way. And how is she going to reciprocate without breaking the law? She’s going to have to figure that out, but Bell is smart, so I’m sure she will. But I think she kind of feels a little — I wouldn’t say blindsided because she always gave him a side-eye — worried about how she’s going to be perceived or how much she’s played into it already, not even knowing that she is.

Wheatley’s trial is coming up in the SVU crossover, but the other charges against him were dismissed. So how is Bell feeling going into it?

She and Stabler are a bit frustrated, the fact that he got no charges for any of the other murders and was able to kind of weasel his way out of the crimes he committed just by telling on other people, which we know that, with Wheatley, he’s not doing it because he’s really trying to be a good person. He’s just doing it so he can save his own ass. So it’s extremely frustrating. And then also, it’s one of those moments with something that you want so bad, as far as for him to get convicted for Kathy Stabler’s murder. So there’s an anxiousness attached to [it]: How is this all gonna play out? And if he doesn’t get convicted of killing Kathy Stabler, how is that going to affect Stabler? And then how is that going to affect his work? It’s all a trickle-down effect.

Tamara Taylor as Angela Wheatley in Law & Order Organized Crime

Zach Dilgard/NBC

When we saw [Richard’s ex-wife] Angela [Tamara Taylor] in the premiere, she was still recovering. How is she doing and how is Bell feeling about how she’s doing? Because she’s such a key witness.

It’s almost like all the odds are against us because she’s not doing well. Her memory has really been affected by what Wheatley did, so she’s not really able to be as strong a witness as we hoped. That’s a little disappointing.

Then in the Organized Crime episode, Stabler’s dealing with some stuff with his son Eli (Nicky Torchia).

Stabler’s going to have some upcoming challenges with Eli and the choices that he’s making as a teenager. He’s going to have to navigate that in a pretty big way. So I’m excited for people to see this storyline with Eli and him kind of pushing boundaries and stuff as teenagers do.

How will Bell be handling Stabler during that? I imagine he wants to go all out and she has to rein him in.

Oh, yes, always. That’s a big part of our dynamic. She tries to talk sense into him as much as she can, but she also understands he just came from being undercover. That definitely affects Eli a lot because his parent wasn’t there for a certain amount of time. And then Stabler’s also dealing with the trial and it’s a lot. So instead of her being a hindrance to Stabler, she wants to be a help to him, as long as it’s something that’s not going to jeopardize the cases that we’re working. Bell has a good way of just being a compassionate person and not having to be so by the book all the time. That’s what really builds camaraderie with the people that you work with. It builds relationships with people when you’re able to meet people halfway and do what’s best overall, but still be very sensitive to what they need in a given moment.

Danielle Moné Truitt as Sgt. Ayanna Bell, Guillermo Diaz as Sgt. Bill Brewster in Law & Order Organized Crime

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

How’s Bell feeling about her unit as a whole in Season 2?

I think she feels good about her unit. What we are able to accomplish with the Albanian crime family, I think she’s very proud. In the last episode, Lieutenant Moennig [Daniel Oreskes] tells her “you’re definitely getting your organized crime task force back,” which she was happy about. Unfortunately, she has to deal with Brewster [Guillermo Diaz] for a little bit longer. But I think she feels very good about the task force and they’re going to have a really strong team moving forward.

Speaking of Brewster, the fact that he’s now lieutenant …

I know it was crazy when I read it. Even though I love Guillermo — in real life, we’re super cool, that’s my buddy, so I’m happy he’s staying on the show — I was like, “oh my God, why did they do Bell like this?” [Laughs] She gets a little bit of a reprieve for a couple episodes until she has to work with him again. My hope though is that over time, there’ll be some real respect built between the two of them and they’ll be able to work together better than they were when she was on his narcotics task force before.

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Nova is sticking around, and she’s getting deeper in with the Marcy Killers…

[With that promotion], she’s asked to work even more closely with Webb [Mykelti Williamson] and with Kilbride, which is a shock to Bell. So she’s going to be deep within the Marcy Killers and hopefully, she’ll be a huge part of us being able to take them down as well. The Marcy Killers storyline, I don’t know what they’re going to do with it, but it’s going to be a lot.

What’s coming up with Bell and Denise [Keren Dukes], especially with the Kilbride of it all?

There’s always a bit of tension in Bell and Denise’s relationship because they’re in two different worlds. They both work with the law, but Bell’s job is very different than Denise’s and there’s certain things she can’t tell her. There’s certain changes that have to happen and she has to be willing to be flexible and with a new baby and everything, I think that can kind of put [pressure] on anybody’s relationship. Right now they’re totally fine, but there’s just these little moments that you’re like, “Ooh, are they going to be able to navigate everything that’s going on?” I’m sure they will figure it out, but sometimes it’s just difficult for them to communicate the way that they would like to.

Law & Order: Organized Crime, Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC