Nick Creegan is helping usher in a new era of Law & Order with the series premiere of Law & Order: Organized Crime. Starring Christopher Meloni as his Law & Order: SVU character Det. Elliot Stabler, Organized Crime is set to show audiences the next chapter of Stabler’s life and the crimes he sets out to solve. Dylan McDermott also stars as Richard Wheatley, one of the new associates Stabler must now interact with thanks to his return to the field. Creegan stars as Wheately’s son, who is set to have an intriguing storyline.
A former sports and entertainment journalist, Creegan has also set his sights on merging his acting talent with his passion for journalism in his new production company, which he talks more about below. As you’ll read, Creegan has set the stage for himself to become the next multi-hypenate mogul in the industry.
Law & Order: Organized Crime premieres on NBC at 10/9c tonight (Apr. 1).
Monique Jones: What can fans expect from this new series?
Nick Creegan: Yeah, I think, uh, the main thing is the fact that that will be able to follow. The character storyline very closely from episode to episode as opposed to the past Law and Order [series] that did pretty much one-off episodes [in which] each episode is a new situation. They’re going to be able to follow the storyline throughout the whole season, which should be exciting.
What about your character? Can you tell me more about the character you play?
I play Richie Wheatley Jr. He is the son of Richard Wheatley, played by Dylan McDermott. [Richard] barely talks much about him, but he is biracial, which is pretty cool, you know? Law and Order this season has been very diversified. Fans can expect a lot of diversity. It’s great to be working alongside such a [talented] cast. And Richie Wheatley is an interesting guy, so I think fans will really enjoy seeing what becomes of him.
You are when you’re working alongside a lot of big names–you already mentioned Dylan McDermott, and there’s also Christopher Meloni, who is an icon of the Law and Order franchise. What has it been like working with these two actors and just being a part of such an institution of television?
Well, I’ve been working closely with Dylan. Um, he’d been an amazing energy to be around. I’m learning a lot from him. You know, the fact that he plays my father is a little serendipitous because I feel like he guiding me in a lot of ways, being that he’s been in business for over 30 years, so working with him has been a lot of fun. We have fun on set and then we also have a lot of great conversations when the cameras are off.
One memory I had of him actually was when we were in the green room for one of the episodes. Him, another legendary actor, who’s a guest star, and one more actor, we were all just talking about what New York used to be like, you know, before the nineties, before it got cleaned up. And, you know, they were just telling stories about card games they would play with legendary comedians and actors. And just me sitting there being able to experience this with these guys–it had nothing to do with acting per se, but it was just really a rich conversation to be in. Dylan is the type of guy that always includes me and other cast members in a really fun conversation, that’s just a joy to be around.
There have been so many series in the Law and Order franchise. How does it feel to be a part of this rich legacy of television?
It’s an honor, really, because I have family members and friends that have been watching Law and order for the better part of 20 years and be a part of a legacy like that, I mean, it’s really an honor. This is my first network TV project and I feel like, you know, the fact that Christopher Meloni is coming back after 10 long years. It’s one of the highest anticipated series of the past 10 years, it would be on it and be able to know that I’m going to be a major recurring character on that special with them not taking that lightly. And it just feels really great to be able to bring my stuff to the table with actors who have been nominated for Emmys and other awards. I’m just grateful that Dick Wolf and the producers gave me an opportunity to shine and, I hope fans and viewers really enjoy what Richie Wheatley has to say and brings to the show.
You also have your own project called A Balcony in Brooklyn. Could you tell me more about that?
Yeah, A Balcony in Brooklyn was a project that my friend and I decided to co-produce my friend Dennis Williams and Gladimir Gelin decided to produce, um, during the COVID, like we were in our home during COVID in July, and we were actually watching a movie that Childish Gambino or Donald Glover did about 12 years ago called Clapping for the Wrong Reasons. We wanted to do a movie similar to that, but with COVID in mind.
We injected the racial tension in there. We injected COVID in there, and what it meant to be a Black person living in the current state of America, except we used COVID as a mechanism that never ended. So fast-forward like, four or five years, COVID [is still rampant], and there’s a protest going on at the beginning of the film. It’s basically a sci-fi/drama/dramedy, if you will. My character [Nick] is the main character with the apartment and there’s an underground house party being thrown in his apartment during COVID. He tries to figure out where his roommate is, who decided to throw this without his permission.
That sounds really interesting, especially with how it’s tackling some of the issues we’ve been facing today throughout the pandemic. What do you hoep the film gives to people? How do you hope they take it?
Yeah, we’ve touched on different issues, but we also wanted to have fun watching it. So my main goal for the film was to make sure that people walked away, not sure whether to agree with Nick’s character or agree with Glad’s character was played by Ade Chike Torbert who also co-starred with me in David Makes Man.
I just wanted people to kind of see what it’s like to be Black in New York during COVID and also what it feels like being a young person during COVID. I mean, we don’t know if it’s wrong to actually live life and have fun because we’re living under all of these rules. So is it wrong to decide to say, ‘You know what? enough is enough–it’s ben five years, I want to have a good time and throw an even with a lot of people inside [my] home and just enjoy life?’ Or should we stay under strict rule? It’s kind of like one of those things where you’re not sure whether you side with Nick or side with Glad. So I kind of want people to form their own opinions about those situations…It’s just really to make people think.
You also have your own production company, Broken Whip Media. What it’s like to start your own production company, especially as a Black person in Hollywood? A lot of Black stars are creating their own producton companies to make space for themselves and others. Since you now have your own production company, what has it been like to create that space and creat projects with you and your audience in mind?
The main part about forming a production company started by three black men who are all under 35 is powerful. It’s powerful, because we’re getting meeting with a big name studio within production companies. And…we actually sold our first project that will be announced at a later date, but it just feels powerful because we’ve realized that you know, the best way to use your platform when you get to a table where your voice is being heard is to be able to say, ‘I want to create my own project and I don’t want to wait for somebody else to ask me if I’m ready to be in theirs,’ so we’re creating our whole path.
It’s just great to know that our voices are being heard and to create opportunities for creatives, ranging from hosts of TV shows in the food and travel space and beyond, and also fuel scripted content as well for writers of color and underrepresented voices. So, Broken Whip is aiming to be, um, a production company that is serving the voice of [those] not heard.
My last question is kinda personal since I’m a journalist and I read that you were originally a journalist and you made the switch to acting. What’s it like being on the other side of the table, being interviewed?
Very surreal, very funny. I’m actually laughing thinking about it. I’m usually asking the questions. Right. And, um, I’ve interviewed countless of actors and celebrities ranging from Derek Jeter to Kevin Hart to Jesse Williams, to Jennifer Hudson, to Cedric the Entertainer to Carmelo Anthony…Being able to be on the other end, where people are asking me about my life, it’s kind of a little strange because at times on anticipating what questions [people] might be following up with. But I mean, it, it’s nice. I mean, it’s a nice change of pace. Acting is my passion and it always has been.
Journalism for me, is still a passion. I still am very interested in hearing about people’s stories. And I used that through a production company. I mean, it’s not that I’m never going to be hosting a program or sitting down and having a conversation with someone because actually that’s one of our planned projects is to, you know, uh, co-host the show with my production partner Kwame Onwuachi, a world-renowned James Beard Award-winning chef. What if my co-owners of the production company. But it’s nice to know that I have a dual skillset. I’m able to act, and when I’m not acting, I can also host programs where I’m interviewing people and being able to collapse those two worlds together for me, it’s very special.
Do you have any advice for others who want to make the jump from journalism to the world of acting?
Absolutely. Aside from just the world of acting, I feel like I have an advice for people working in corporate jobs who strive to do things that they’re passionate about, that they’re afraid because A, they might be risking their full-time paycheck at their corporate job or B, they don’t feel like they have enough time to fuel their side-passion.
My answer to the first one is. No disrespect to any corporate entity, but at the end of the day, it’s not your company. They’re just number to that machine and they can lay you off at any moment. I’ve been laid off from positions at different jobs. And, you know, if I would’ve quit instead of being laid off and just decided to pursue my passion, what would be the difference? You have to be loyal to yourself before anybody else. That company, if they decide to cut fat, don’t think they’re not going to, you know what I mean? You could put in countless amount of hours that any organization, any outlet, whether it be a media outlet or an accounting firm, and you can easily get laid off if they need to lay you off, so focus on your passion.
The second part is don’t ever let a full-time job stop you from putting in time into what you really care about. You have to care about yourself because one thing for certain about life is that we all own a certain amount of time on this earth. You don’t want to be at the end of your time and your spirit is thinking, ‘we never took a chance on what we really cared about.’ So if you have the time, I say there’s no time like the present. And Issa Rae is the perfect example of what can happen when you decide to take things into your own hands. You don’t have to wait for a script to come your way. You can write your own script and get your friends together and do it on YouTube or Instagram.
The beauty of era we live in right now is we live in the social media era. So everything can be created by ourselves. So those would be my tips for anybody looking to either get into acting or to fuel any passion you might have but you’re caught up in your corporate job.
That’s sound advice. I have to keep giving myself that advice too. It’s all very true, everything you said.
Yeah. A hundred percent. And you know, uh, I have to remind myself too, at times. I’m finally getting into a space where I’m comfortable saying that these are my jobs, I’m acting and I’m starting my own thing, but it took me years to be able to do that. So we all have to do things at our own pace, but, uh, just remember to keep that alive and not let that slip away because happiness is more important than any amount of money or quote unquote security you have at a corporate job.