Michael Tow Previews Personal Episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime and Reveals Surprising Marvel and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Ties

The worlds of organized crime and politics have clashed in Law & Order: Organized Crime's latest episodes, and in tonight's Blood Ties episode, the team will look to bring a halt to Michael Quan's political rise while also racing to find an abducted child. A pivotal part of this episode is Wen Shao, who is played by Michael Tow, and ComicBook.com had a chance to speak with Tow all about working with Christopher Meloni, the episode's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Marvel connections, how Wen causes Stabler to switch roles, and why filming the episode was healing after a tragic loss in his own life.

Tow has been in the Law & Order universe before, as he previously guest-starred on an episode of Law & Order: SVU. He had the chance to work with Mariska Hargitay during that episode, and now he's getting to act alongside Christopher Meloni in Organized Crime. While the two shows differ a bit, there's no difference in how welcomed Tow felt on both sets and by both stars.

Law & Order: Organized Crime – Season 3
(Photo: NBC)

"Yeah, well first thing there were a lot of similarities between Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni. I mean both you can see as number ones, you can see why the shows are so successful and why they're so successful for such a long time, because I think it starts with the number one and goes down in terms of successful shows," Tow said. "I've been in the business for a long time, but only the last few years in much larger roles, but nothing compared to actually this role in this episode."

"I can only imagine the work, and how exhausted I was, not just physically, but more importantly, mentally, and the exhaustion of having that emotional arc of the character. To do that, every day of that episode I was working, but that was just one episode, let alone 22 episodes in Mariska's and Chris's case, let alone 20 plus years. To do that, you need a certain kind of leader and no doubt the similarities between Chris and Mariska, 100% it was the same feel," Tow said.

While Tow has nothing but great things to say about the cast and crew, he does admit it was a bit intimidating to work alongside someone he's watched on television for so long. "It felt very inclusive and welcoming right away. However, at the same time, it also is a bit intimidating because these were Mariska and Chris Meloni, Chris Meloni and I here. I mean I've seen the guy, first on Law and Order, and I watched him through different series like Happy," Tow said. "So it was a bit intimidating at first because it's not just a one-and-done thing. It's all of a sudden you have to come in pretty fast, jumping into character. I have to do this all the time, but not to this degree of being in such a large role in an episode."

Those who have watched Stabler over the years know how personally he takes cases that put children in danger, and he will go to any lengths to get them home. It's Stabler's own love of his children that powers that drive, though as Tow points out, this is Wen's son they are looking for, and his drive to find his son will flip the roles a bit with Elliot.

Law & Order: Organized Crime – Season 3
(Photo: NBC)

"At first couldn't be more different on paper. I mean Stabler's in New York, Wen is from China. He's a teacher, a school teacher in a rural type of area. You have Stabler in the heart of the biggest city in the world, and one's a cop, one's a teacher. Wen is a little calmer and a smaller kind of personality, and yet at the same time they are now intertwined in this search for my son, and what connects us is the father bond that trumps all of these possible differences. At the end of the day, it's a story about a father trying to get back and find his son who means everything to him. And that connection with Stabler and his scenario with his wife and his kids, that's the connecting bond that they have, and hopefully, that's shown throughout this episode, that unsaid father-to-father connection.," Tow said.

"Stabler kind of goes at things through the lens of a cop, and within those confines. With Wen, there are no confines. He just needs to find his son and he'll do whatever it takes, whether it's legal, illegal, whether it will affect his personal safety, nothing matters other than getting his son back," Tow said. "So in some ways maybe the traditional role that Stabler plays of pushing things a little bit, it's Wen that pushes the scenario here, and Stabler is the one who says, 'We need to calm down a little bit'."

Tow also revealed the personal nature of this episode, as Tow's daughter passed away six months ago. Tow was grateful for the opportunity to explore Wen and his story, and revealed that doing the show was healing in a way.

"One thing on that is, unfortunately, I lost my 19-year-old daughter six months ago and my roles since then leading up to Law and Order have connected with this kind of storyline. And in some ways that intensity that Wen has towards his son, as an actor, it connected me with my daughter, and so this is a pretty personal role for me," Tow said. "At the same time, it's quite a, it's also healing to go through this experience. I'm so fortunate that the Law & Order team and casting allowed me to have a fleshed-out character like this because most other episodics and other TV shows don't have guest stars that come in with this kind of scenario. As you mentioned before, with this serialized kind of show and multi-episode arcs, you can really get a good chance to see this character Wen and learn quite a bit about him and hit the different layers involved."

Law & Order: Organized Crime – Season 3
(Photo: NBC)

"You get to live in this character, which is very unusual to see for a guest star. Usually, you do that for the series regular, but not as a guest star, and I'm so fortunate to be able to have that experience and to be able to do that, and from a personal point of view, to be able to honor my daughter in that way," Tow said.

Tow's daughter was a huge fan of the show, and though it would be challenging at times just due to the nature of the story, he always knew he wanted to be a part of the show to honor his daughter.

"My daughter was a big fan. It was very sudden her death, but she was always very supportive of my career as an actor. I would talk to her all the time about the lack of roles that I had that had layers and had an arc and really couldn't, you couldn't dive deep into it and she would no doubt be so proud of me and happy for me to have a role like this that is essentially one of the leads of, the co-lead of an episode. And so to me, it was always something that I knew I was going to have to do. There's nothing in my mind saying, 'No, I don't know if I can do this.' I mean I knew because it mirrors a lot, it's a very emotional kind of episode, but there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be able to do it, even though at end filming of the two weeks, it was very, very draining to say at least, but at the same time it turned out to be very healing," Tow said.

Hopefully, we'll see more of Tow in the Law & Order universe, as he's already been featured in SVU and Organized Crime. When I brought up the possibility of being in all three ongoing franchises and completing the set so to speak, he was hopeful that it happens one day. That said, he's also a part of the Netflix Marvel universe, and with so many returning in the MCU, he's all for jumping back into the world as well.

"Exactly, and if you say it a little louder for casting directors to hear (laughs). I fully agree with you there," Tow said. "On a side note too, within the comic book area, I was both in Daredevil and in Iron Fist and so I'm like, 'Ah, well I can do those two now. I had small roles in both of them, and it was like Oh yeah, now it's time to be Shang-Chi 2, the next Avengers, I'm ready!"

This episode of Organized Crime includes another major character from the Netflix Marvel world, specifically one of Daredevil's biggest villains. The geek tethers don't stop there though, as the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also happened to be a part of the set.

"Oh by the way, in this episode, here's another tidbit. The woman who plays Sister Shu is Madam Gao in Daredevil," Tow said. "She's a friend of mine. She's Wai Ching Ho. She's fantastic. She's an amazing actor. She's amazing and the sweetest woman, but in Daredevil, she is vicious."

When I mentioned Turtles, Tow said, "Speaking of Donatello, do you know that Francois Chau, the bad guy in this one is Shredder? Yeah, so he played Shredder in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (Secret of the Ooze), and that was actually one of my first auditions back in the day," Tow said. "First big, big auditions. That might've been like 15 years ago, 20 years ago, something like that. A long time ago."

Law & Order: Organized Crime returns with a brand new episode tonight on NBC at 10 PM EST, and it will be available on Peacock the following day.

What do you want to see next from Organized Crime? Let us know in the comments and as always you can talk all things Law & Order with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!