Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is an American crime drama series, the brainchild of Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment for NBC. It is the first spin-off of Law & Order. The show started with Christopher Meloni playing Det.
Elliot Stabler, but with his departure from the series in 2011 after 12 seasons, Mariska Hargitay’s Detective Olivia Benson took over command of the SVU. We saw Meloni return for his role as Stabler in the 2021 spin-off Law & Order: Organized Crime. SVU follows the original blueprint of Law & Order, with some cases being vaguely based on real crimes that garnered media attention.
Who Is Richard Wheatley?
Richard M. Wheatley, Sr. (played by Dylan McDermott), who also goes by Richard Sinatra, has been introduced as the main antagonist of SVU. A wealthy businessman, who also happens to be a powerful crime lord, is Detective Elliot Stabler’s archenemy.
Wheatley is publicly known as the CEO of an online pharmaceutical called Contrapos. This is but a front for his illegal dealings in the underworld. His most recent scandal was smuggling COVID-19 vaccines and selling them at an inflated price to his buyers.
Wheatley has a son named Richard Jr. and a daughter named Dana. They are both children of his with his ex-wife Angela. Wheatley also has a son named Ryan with his current wife, Pilar. Wheatley was born into a crime family, with his father being the mob boss Manfredi Sinatra.
Although Richard inherited the whole crime scene from his father, he resented him. His father was a racist who hated his black daughter-in-law and despised his mixed-race grandchildren. Richard adopted Angela’s last name to declare his independence from his father.
Introduction To His Character
Wheatley was a suspect in the murder of Kathy, Elliot Stabler’s wife. Elliot had investigated both Richard and his father and almost had Manfredi in prison around the time of the murder. Richard thought his father was giving him information on him in return for leniency.
To stop this, he orders the murder of Kathy to stop Elliot. In the meantime, he asks to meet Manfredi in the front to repair their broken relationship and has Izak Bekhar kill him. Stabler, who was supposed to meet Manfredi after, only found his dead body.
The COVID-19 Scandal
When Stabler finds vaccines being stolen from a federal lab, he goes straight to Wheatley and confronts him. Wheatley orders Izak to beat him up, which only strengthens Elliot’s resolve. Around this time, Richard Jr. gets involved with Gino Cappelletti, who works as an undercover detective with Stabler.
The Wheatley Arrest
After finding out that Gina is a detective undercover, Richie is ordered to kill her by Wheatley. After Izak sees Richie killing her, Richie murders him as well. The Wheatley family was eventually arrested, and Wheatley was in prison, awaiting trial. Three months later, most of the charges were dropped, except murder. Wheatley was sent to Rikers Island as he waited for the trial.