Why Dylan McDermott Immediately "Clicked" With Law & Order: SVU Co-Star Raúl Esparza

In the mega-crossover event of the season, Dylan McDermott's Richard Wheatley hires a surprising familiar face to SVU fans: former ADA Barba, played by Raúl Esparza. Hear the BTS details!

By Samantha Bergeson Dec 10, 2021 4:00 AMTags
Watch: Dylan McDermott Talks "Law & Order: Organized Crime"

It's not quite as simple as just good vs. evil. 

On tonight's highly anticipated mega-crossover Law & Order event, airing Dec. 9, sophisticated mob boss Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) finally goes to trial for the murder of Kathy Stabler. Yet in a jaw-dropping twist of events, former ADA Barba (Raúl Esparza) represents Wheatley as his attorney—shocking both Captain Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and former partner Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) and calling into question who they can really trust. 

As controversial as the pairing was on-screen, off-screen, however, the team up with Esparza was a no-brainer for McDermott. "Raúl and I just got along immediately. We just clicked," McDermott exclusively told E! News. "There was just this shorthand we had between each other, this simpatico."

Plus, who wouldn't want to see a beloved Law & Order: Special Victims Unit alum team up with a seductively cruel Law & Order: Organized Crime villain? 

"[Barba] knew he was dealing with someone formidable with Richard Wheatley," McDermott continued. "So a lot of times in acting, so much of it is hinging on the relationship and I think the Barba-Wheatley relationship is certainly in both episodes." 

Law and Order: SVU's ADA Characters

McDermott called the crossover episodes "so fun," especially during the SVU trial.

Will Hart/NBC

"To be on that set and to be with the crew and to be with Mariska and then Stabler comes over, it's just what a great night of television," McDermott explained. "The build-up to it, it's been so long now. To be in the Dick Wolf world in both shows I just thought was fascinating." 

And it was an "easy fit" to reprise his role as Wheatley. 

"I think with any character that kind of gets under your skin in a way, there's an understanding. There's an understanding I have about Wheatley and I think that's why people are interested in him because once you understand the character, you can really be him," McDermott hinted. "That's the fun part of being Wheatley because it's so delicious at that level." 

McDermott concluded, "It's fun to come to work and it's fun to daydream about it. It's fun to think about what I'm going to do, how I'm going to kind of apply what I do to the scene and make up stuff. All that stuff is so creatively exciting." 

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Here's to more Wheatley in our futures! 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC, followed by Law & Order: Organized Crime at 10 p.m. on NBC. 

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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