Chris Meloni On Dylan McDermott Leaving Law And Order: Organized Crime For CBS Drama

The Law & Order universe has officially grown even more in 2022 thanks to the revival premiere of the original series, and SVU and Organized Crime are going strong. That said, OC is on the verge of another change due to the looming departure of Dylan McDermott as the villainous Richard Wheatley, who has been Stabler’s nemesis since the spinoff’s debut in 2021. McDermott is departing OC to head over to CBS as the new star of FBI: Most Wanted, and Chris Meloni has weighed in on McDermott’s upcoming exit. 

Chris Meloni, who of course plays Elliot Stabler in the Law & Order universe, has worked opposite Dylan McDermott while trying to take down Wheatley from the beginning of OC. Although McDermott was mostly absent from the first arc of Season 2, his presence still loomed large, and even cast a shadow over SVU with his trial (and possibly Benson’s car crash). Meloni spoke with ET about McDermott switching from NBC to CBS for Most Wanted, saying:

Look, I’ll miss every aspect of him. He was good in front of the camera. He was great when it was off. [He has a] cheeky sensibility and good sense of humor. . . . So, I wish him the best.

Even though Stabler undoubtedly won’t miss Wheatley no matter how OC writes off the character, Chris Meloni didn’t hold back in sharing how much he’ll miss Dylan McDermott. It is fun to know from Chris Meloni’s comments that, as much as Wheatley was a truly dastardly bad guy on the show, McDermott has a good sense of humor! Interestingly, McDermott isn’t actually leaving the Dick Wolf TV universe that includes Organized Crime, but he’ll step away from playing bad guy Richard Wheatley to playing an agent over on FBI: Most Wanted.

FBI: Most Wanted needed a new leading man after Julian McMahon decided to depart part of the way through the current third season. McMahon still has one episode to go before saying goodbye as Jess LaCroix – hopefully without being killed off – and there are no details available just yet about McDermott’s character other than that he definitely isn’t reprising his role as Richard Wheatley for it. 

His new character is expected to debut in April, meaning episodes of Most Wanted between McMahon’s OC departure and McDermott’s arrival. That also means weeks of TV without McDermott, with the Wheatley arc of Organized Crime wrapping (with some intensity, according to one star) on March 3. The next arc of OC will shift focus to Mykelti Williamson, which could mean a goodbye to Tamara Taylor’s Angela Wheatley as well, but we can only speculate on that front. 

Fans can probably be confident that OC will have a doozy of an episode to close the story of the show’s first and arguably worst bad guy when it comes to the amount of havoc wreaked, including by bringing in Robin Lord Taylor’s Sebastian McClane, who has just wanted to survive him. See the end of Stabler vs. Wheatley (and Chris Meloni opposite Dylan McDermott) with the next episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime on Thursday, March 3 at 10 p.m. ET, following a new episode of Mariska Hargitay’s Law & Order: SVU in the 2022 TV schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).