"They sent me the script, and I initially thought that it was fascinating, you know, growing up in New York and being around these mobsters here and there," he tells Variety. "I remember when (Mafia figure) Joey Gallo got killed. My father and I went down to Umberto’s Clam House (where Gallo was shot) and looked around, and it was all cordoned off. And you know, I was a bartender, busboy and a waiter, so I’ve been around these guys a little bit. In a separate interview, McDermott tells TVLine he's glad to be Stabler's formidable foe: "Stabler definitely needs a foe, a formidable foe," he says. "Otherwise, the show wouldn’t work. Because that kind of conflict, that standoff is so necessary on a show like this. So, you have to have somebody who can take him on, and I think that Richard can take on Stabler. In fact, he looks forward to it. That’s what turns him on. You know what I mean? He’s one of these criminals that like to leave a note to let you know he was there. There’s something about it that turns him on, the getting away with it. I think he looks forward to this challenge, you know?"