“Law & Order: Organized Crime” actress Tamara Taylor discussed her hopes that fans could sympathize with her character, Angela Wheatley, in spite of her wrongdoings.
As opposed to the episodic format of Law & Order: SVU, Organized Crime follows a serialized storyline. In its debut season, the primary subject of the investigation has been the death of protagonist Elliot Stabler’s wife, Kathy. Now in its sophomore season, the man responsible, Richard Wheatley, was tried in court, only for it to end in a mistrial.
Moreover, his ex-wife Angela was found to be lying about lingering side effects from him poisoning her. This complicated the case as her testimony was supposed to be the cornerstone of the prosecution. As a result, Wheatley went free. At the end of the episode, it also appeared that Angela was in fact working with her ex.
Angela Walks the “Razor’s Edge”
Despite the treacherous actions of her Law & Order character, Taylor hoped to evoke sympathy. After all, Angela is in an impossible situation. Her life and those of her children hang in the balance.
“That’s my hope, is that people are like, “Damn, she really gave it all up. She’s in rough shape and may not ever recover, all to take down this man, her ex,'” Taylor told TVLine. “But the funny thing is, what I sort of unpacked about Angela — and what the writers have been talking about, and [showrunner] Ilene [Chaiken], who I just love — is that… after the trial, after the verdict, what happens generally to people that have been protected is that they’re just left high and dry.”
While it is impossible to justify her actions, Taylor does an excellent job of shedding light on where Angela is coming from. What looks like a foolish choice could be masterful self-preservation.
“So, Angela’s left with nothing, no protection against the man that tried to kill her twice,” the actress continued. “So, what does one do? Appear to be a non-threat, perhaps appear to ally with him? Whatever you need to do to stay alive, and to keep your kid alive… There’s definitely a razor’s edge, man. She’s walking it.”
In addition, Taylor appreciated the opportunity to play such a complex character on Law & Order.
Taylor Finds Her Law & Order Villain Compelling
“Getting to play the villain, villainess, I was like… it’s not the first time I’ve played one,” Taylor explained. “But the first time I’ve never actually played one that’s so interesting. And as we well know, because people are many things, more than one thing… Angela’s maybe not entirely the villain, but maybe she is, you know?”
Either way, Law & Order fans have a lot to look forward to from Angela in the coming episodes. Organized Crime will return from its midseason break on Jan. 6 on NBC.