‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’: How Might Stabler vs. Wheatley End?

Dylan McDermott as Richard Wheatley, Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler in Law & Order Organized Crime
Will Hart/NBC

Right now on Law & Order: Organized Crime, Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) is once again trying to take down Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott), but we know that it will end soon. McDermott, after all, is moving over to FBI: Most Wanted, beginning with an April episode, to take over as lead following Julian McMahon’s exit on March 8.

Stabler and Wheatley’s first face-off in the SVU spinoff culminated in the crossover trial of the winter finale in December — and the mobster was set free, following a mistrial, rather than paying for the murder of the detective’s wife. And now, Wheatley has set his sights on Stabler’s mother (Ellen Burstyn), with Bernadette’s neighbor Miles (James Cromwell) not the “super nice” or “friendly, gentlemanly” guy he appeared to be. Rather, Wheatley’s using him. Will we see a Stabler and Wheatley fight that makes what went down between the two in the elevator in the latest episode look like child’s play when Elliot finds out? (Stabler got close to Richard’s ex-wife, Tamara Taylor’s Angela, to get to Wheatley, and it worked.)

But now, with McDermott moving over to FBI: Most Wanted, it seems like Organized Crime has to close out Wheatley’s character — for good. After all, the two shows are technically in the same universe (by way of SVU‘s connection to Chicago P.D., whose Tracy Spiridakos appeared on FBI). It’s one thing for McDermott to go from playing Wheatley to the FBI agent, but could he really then go back to playing Wheatley? Yes, it could happen, but it doesn’t seem likely.

Instead, it seems, this move has left Organized Crime with only two ways to end Richard Wheatley’s recurring arc in Season 2. It seems impossible that Stabler and Wheatley would be able to move on and forget about the other if the latter is anywhere out there, and could you really see this ending with Wheatley jetting off somewhere, never to be seen or heard from again? We don’t know how long Most Wanted may go on, with McDermott leading it.

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So, that means that one option is that Wheatley needs to be locked up, possibly for life, somehow, even though the last time he stood trial didn’t end so well. (First, the charges of money laundering, embezzlement, drug trafficking, and assault were dismissed in the Season 2 premiere since he was cooperating with the feds. Then, the crossover saw a mistrial and the DA’s office decide not to move forward with a re-trial.) The other possible conclusion to this arc would be Wheatley’s death, whether at Stabler or someone else’s — perhaps Angela? — hand.

Law & Order: Organized Crime, Returns, Thursday, February 24, 10/9c, NBC