‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ Star Dylan McDermott Sold Stolen Polo Shirts as a Kid in New York

by Allison Hambrick
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 26: Dylan McDermott attends FX's "American Horror Story" 100th Episode Celebration at Hollywood Forever on October 26, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Law & Order: Organized Crime actor Dylan McDermott opened up about his interesting past before moving to Hollywood. In an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan, the former American Horror Story star revealed that Law & Order was not his first run in with crime.

“When I was a kid, I used to sell stolen Polo shirts on 14th Street,” McDermott revealed. “I would look at GQ magazine, and think ‘oh man if one day I could ever… If I ever made it, I could be on the cover of GQ Magazine,’ as I was selling stolen…”

“And you did it, I’m sure you did it,” responded host Ryan Seacrest. The actor explained that he had, in fact, hit this major milestone. In response, other host Kelly Ripa asked when his last appearance on the cover of GQ was. McDermott stated that he featured alongside Will Smith and Tom Hanks in 1999.

Redirecting back to the Law & Order actor’s criminal past, Secrets asked “when the cops come and you’re selling the illegal Polos, what happens?”

“You run,” the actor joked. “You pick up the box and you just run… to the next corner.” The hosts inquired about whether or not McDermott got caught, and he responded with another sarcastic laugh.

“No, I never got busted,” said McDermott. “No, I kind of always had the eye out, you know, and I would sell them fast. One for fourteen, two for thirty-nine.”

As a result, Seacrest remarked “good for you, what a salesman.” Even so, McDermott’s own past pales in comparison with his Law & Order character, Richard Wheatley.

McDermott Unpacks Law & Order Villain Role

In a recent interview, McDermott talked about getting into character as Law & Order: Organized Crime‘s antagonist. Arguably the most heinous villain in the history of the franchise, Wheatley is responsible for the death of Kathy Stabler, the wife of protagonist Elliot Stabler. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. The actor feels that the role is a unique presence in the series.

“[Wheatley’s] rhythm is a little different than both [SVU and Organized Crime],” McDermott explained. “It’s very serpentine, if you will. He does hang back and then he strikes and he does that over and over again. What’s happening now which I think is really amazing is there is this obsession between Stabler and Wheatley that is so fun because now it’s personal on both parts. So that in itself is just a great way to go to work.”

Additionally, McDermott tries to step back from himself when getting into character. The actor called it getting “out of the way.”

“By the time I put the clothes on and I start to daydream about what I’m going to do, I let Wheatley take over, whatever that incarnation is,” he said. “I really try to step away from him and just let him go and let him be whoever he is. Sometimes I don’t know. There are moments when he does stuff that is just so outrageous.”

As for the character’s future, McDermott simply replied “it’s going to be more chaos.”

Law & Order: Organized Crime returns on Jan. 6 2022 on NBC.