Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for the first season of Law & Order: Organized Crime.
Tamara Taylor is aware of how divisive her Law & Order: Organized Crime character is…and she loves it.
The actress discussed the cliffhanger regarding her Angela Wheatley character and if her possible survival will affect the Benson/Stabler dynamic.
Angela and Stabler’s connection
Law & Order: Organized Crime had Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) targeting Richard Wheatley (Dylan McDermott), the powerful crime boss who Stabler believes orchestrated the murder of his wife.
To get close to him, Stabler reached out to Wheatley’s ex-wife, Angela. The two soon grew closer (including a kiss) even as Stabler was still in mourning. However, the Wheatley bodyguard, Izak, revealed that it was Angela who ordered the death of Stabler’s wife.
Arrested, Angela confessed she’d believed Stabler was the one who killed her son, Rafiq, in a drug bust and wanted him to suffer as she did. She then aided Stabler’s unit in arresting Richard.
Knowing Angela could put him away, Richard arranged for her to be poisoned in her safe house. After she recovered from that, she was poisoned again in her hospital bed by Diego Morales, who had been Wheatley’s inside man on the unit all along.
The last scene of the season was Angela choking in her bed with Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler seeking help.
Talking to The Wrap, Taylor was tight-lipped on Angela’s survival but hinting she might pull through.
“Angela definitely had a rough day,” Taylor said. “Being poisoned twice in one day is not ideal. I don’t know. Unfortunately, I don’t even know if I’m allowed to tell you her fate, hence the cliffhanger nature of the whole thing. I don’t know.”
Angela and the love triangle
Taylor noted the odd connection Angela and Stabler have. Even knowing she was responsible for his wife’s murder, Stabler still seems deeply affected by Angela nearly dying, with Taylor hinting it’s not just because it will ruin the case against Richard.
“There are still many ways it can be perceived, but I think it was pretty purposefully ambiguous so that we can wonder. I think, as Chris Meloni likes to say, humans are messy, emotions are messy, and there is nothing more intriguing than watching people navigate through this kind of complicated terrain. “
These emotions come up as it’s been clear Angela recognizes the bond Benson and Stabler have. After years apart and her hurt by Stabler leaving without a word, Benson is helping Stabler cope with his loss to the point of having his family stage an “intervention” for his behavior.
It brings up once more how the pair had a connection as partners deeper than even Stabler’s marriage to Kathy. Even Wheatley noted it, sardonically telling Angela she’d killed the wrong woman Stabler truly loved.
Taylor notes that even if Angela was concerned about that, she might be able to move on.
That said, Angela has grown. I mean, she was married to Richard Wheatley. So I think she can handle whatever the truth is. If she is indeed truly in love with Stabler, he is not her first love, and I don’t think she expects that she would be is. So my guess is that they’re both mature enough to take whatever is going on with the other in stride. It’s a very nuanced relationship and very unexpected, I think, for both of them.”
Taylor sums up how she knows the passion L&O fans have and how to many, the true crime isn’t Angela killing Kathy, it’s standing in the way of Benson and Stabler finally getting together.
“I’ve got to tell you, ‘Law & Order’ fans are some of the most passionate fans I’ve ever come in contact with. And they’re lovely. So I felt very, very welcomed into the ‘Law & Order universe. They seem to be very, very angry at Angela, many of them. But they’ve made a clear distinction that they’re not angry at me, the actor. They’re just a little p****d with Angela because she’s getting in the way of a relationship that they’ve been rooting for for 22 years.”
While Angela’s survival is up in the air, it’s possible she can continue to cause further sparks with Stabler when L&O: OC returns.
Law & Order: Organized Crime season 1 streaming on Hulu.