When Law & Order: Organized Crime premiered in 2021, fans were thrilled to see Chris Meloni’s Elliot Stabler return to the small screen. Then they met Dylan McDermott’s Richard Wheatley, a businessman with ties to the mafia. The nefarious gangster was the perfect antithesis of Elliot Stabler, and the actors’ outstanding work launched the series into immediate television success.
Dylan McDermott was so convincing as Richard Wheatley, in fact, that fans were shocked to learn that he was transitioning to a protagonist role in FBI: Most Wanted. McDermott commented on fans’ reactions, saying, “I think it’s really interesting. I’ve been reading comments online, and people are saying, ‘It’s too soon. He’s Richard Wheatley, a bad guy.'”
Rather than expressing frustration at the pushback from fans, the Law & Order star takes pride in the fact that his role as Richard Wheatley was so believable. “I relish in [people saying he is Richard Wheatley],” McDermott said. “Because it’s amazing that people believe that I’m the character I’m playing.”
“Now they’re going to see me in a completely different light, going from Richard Wheatley to Remy Scott, two wildly different people with wildly different agendas in life… Now it’s time to play someone good again. Remy Scott is that character.”
Dylan McDermott Says Childhood Experience Made Him a Believable Gangster
Dylan McDermott is an award-winning actor, capable of captivating viewers in any role. In an interview with The Associated Press, however, McDermott revealed that his impeccable portrayal of Richard Wheatley came not from acting prowess but from real-life experience.
“My mother’s boyfriend was a bank robber when I was growing up,” McDermott said. “They all end up either dead or in prison. So, there’s no good stories there. He got his end, and it was not…not good.”
“I was privy to a world that probably most actors would not be,” he continued. “And I always absorbed that, and I always took it in. And I hoped one day to be able to use that, all that information in my own life, and put it into a character. Then Richard Wheatley presented himself.”
Ahead of the premiere of his role as Remy Scott in FBI: Most Wanted, Dylan McDermott sat down for an interview with Wolf Entertainment. During the interview, the actor gave fans more insight into how he was able to play such a convincing mafia member.
To Dylan McDermott, when it comes to producing high-quality art, nothing can top real-life experience. “As an actor, even as a child, I was studying people,” McDermott said. “I was always fascinated by people’s behavior. Before I knew what ‘behavior’ meant. Growing up around criminals, near the gangster world, was certainly very real.”
“There’s a difference between acting and knowing. When you know something, it’s in your body. It’s in every breath you take, and that’s very different from acting a role. You’re not searching, it’s already there. That’s why I responded to Richard, and I think why the audience did too.”