‘Law & Order: SVU’: Why Is Barba Working for Richard Wheatley?

by Megan Molseed
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(Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)

Fans have quickly learned the things are rarely as they initially seem on the brand new NBC detective series Law & Order: Organized Crime. And, it seems to fans, the twists are going to keep coming as the series progresses. Especially as Law & Order: SVU viewers begin to see some familiar faces join Organized Crime in some major cross-over events.

Fans of Law & Order: Organized Crime know that Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) is getting ready to stand trial this winter. And, viewers have also learned that former SVU ADA Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) will be defending the criminal. This, notes a recent Reddit thread, came as a surprise to many.

“There are a lot of theories going through my head as to why Barba would agree to working for him,” notes one Reddit user in a recent post.

“Wheatley is obviously guilty of a lot of things other (than) Kathy Stabler’s murder but it could be argued that he didn’t technically kill her,” the commenter notes.

‘Law & Order: SVU’ Fans Analyze Barba’s Return

The Reddit user goes on to note that it could be argued that Barba may not technically be defending Kathy Stabler’s murderer as he takes on the role of defending Richard Wheatley. However, the commenter notes, it is still an odd case for the former SVU player to take on.

“Angela Wheatley ordered the hit and he didn’t pull the trigger,” the commenter notes.

“But it’s still weird that Barba is taking the case,” the Redditor adds. “He doesn’t know Stabler but has at least heard of him and Stabler at this point probably knows that Barba was a former DA and closed several cases.”

The Law & Order fan then went on to suggest that there could be some ulterior motives behind Barba’s decision to defend Wheatley. And, the Redditor notes, this could likely bring yet another twist to the series.

“So is he being blackmailed??” the poster asks.

“I personally think he’s up to something else that no one else on SVU or Elliot knows about,” the comment continues. “And for whatever reason Barba can’t tell them.”

One Reddit user agreed with the OP’s confusion. However, they did shed a little light as to the reason’s behind Barba’s choice to defend Wheatley.

Does The Answer Lie In The Promo?

“To me “This isn’t a trial. It’s a personal vendetta” might shed some light,” the Reddit user responds, referring to a line featured in a recent Law & Order promo.

“I think that Wheatley sought out Barba due to his ties to Benson,” the commenter adds. “Wheatley feels he’s being framed and Barba doesn’t exactly disagree with him.”

“The line from the promo stood out to me as well,” another commenter points out.

“He’s not wrong,” the Redditor adds. “Benson and Stabler absolutely do want to see Wheatley behind bars. But I’m sure a guy like Barba would be somewhat up to date on criminal proceedings in New York, so he must know what Wheatley’s like.”

Another Redditor aggress with this point, noting that the trial may end up focusing on the detectives, rather than the criminal.

“Ultimately I think the defense has a much better case than the prosecution,” the commenter writes. “Wouldn’t be surprised if it felt more like Benson and Stabler are on trial rather than Wheatley.”

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