Legacy "Law & Order" couples are few and far between, as the shows typically focus more on solving crimes and less on characters' personal lives; however, a recent romantic pairing, who have been a dark horse of sorts, on "Law & Order: Organized Crime" have managed to quite literally hack their way into our hearts.
Wesam Keesh plays Adam “Malachi” Mintock, an acclaimed hacker who began helping the Organized Crime Control Bureau in order to avoid punishment for creating technology that helped a group of bad guys. Malachi teamed up with Organized Crime's intelligent, tech savvy Detective Jet Slootmaekers, played by Ainsley Seiger, who has a dark sense of humor and style that intrigued and charmed Malachi from the moment they met early on in season two.
*Spoiler alert!* Jet and Malachi recently shared a kiss while also saving New York City from a massive blackout! So we had a lot of questions, and who better to ask than Keesh himself, including what his first reaction was after finding out about the big scene.
"I went up to Ainsley, and I just said, 'You're welcome,'" he told TODAY.
"I was happy about it because it's satisfying when you see two characters on TV or in a story, and you know there's a spark between them. And the spark was obviously great enough where they couldn't hold back anymore in order to express themselves — a little bit physically which is OK."
Keesh and Seiger have had a fun banter going on Twitter, as well. After the kiss aired during the March 3 episode "... Wheatley Is to Stabler," Seiger tweeted a funny behind-the-scenes tidbit about the big moment.
"i wish i had a video of @WesamKeesh and i doing shots of listerine in an alley before we shot this scene," she wrote.
"So I tend to follow most of COVID protocols, OK, I'm not perfect. However, I thought it was a little ridiculous that we were offered Listerine," Keesh cracked about the scene prep.
"I don't know if it's just for COVID or if it's just in general, but I took it kind of hesitantly and I was like, 'This is so weird,' because we took one like shot of it and then we go into an alleyway and then we're gargling in front of each other, and I just spit out.
"I'm like this is so bizarre, I'm not doing this. ... We brushed our teeth, we — Listerine —, we had gum, so all the bases were covered."
Now that Jet and Malachi, who have been deemed "Jalachi" by the fans, have shared their first kiss, it will be interesting to see how these two very smart, technical people choose to spend their time on a first date. Keesh said while there's a part of him that thinks they "might do something with computers," that they may want to switch up the scene, since they're always online, and do something a bit more adventurous.
"Maybe Ainsley's character brings up she's had to have gun training and stuff like that, and I'm like, 'Oh, I've never shot a gun before,'" he said. "And so maybe she takes me to the shooting range."
Until that time comes, Keesh teased an upcoming scene between Malachi and Jet that will offer the audience "a deeper look into a more layered relationship" between the characters.
"It was a really beautiful scene, actually," he said. "It was actually one of my favorite acting scenes I've ever done."
"It's maybe, what, a page-and-a-half, two pages long, but it was one of my favorite I've ever done because it's so genuine, so pure. And it was so natural to work with Ainsley in those scenes that I think we did two takes with each shot setup, and that was it. It just felt so natural. So, yeah, it was really nice."
It was actually one of my favorite acting scenes I've ever done.
Wesam Keesh on an upcoming "organized crime" scene with ainsley seiger
Keesh said the romance between the two characters "developed organically" after Malachi came on board, "especially the second episode" he appeared in.
"In the first episode, I think there was a couple of lines there that showed some interest, definitely, from Malachi to Jet, and he was just really impressed with her skills and it just blossomed into something more and more thankfully."
Keesh joked he and Seiger "fought a lot" the first time they met.
"No I'm kidding, it was great," he said. "We hit it off. She's super talented. She's an amazing actress, and what's great about working with her is she loves to play in a scene so I can throw a curveball at her and she can totally handle it — and vice versa, which is great."
Seiger also throws curveballs outside of filming, like when she had Keesh convinced that she was a vegan.
"My favorite memory of Ainsley is how she lied to me and said she was a vegan the whole time, and then out of nowhere she starts talking about how she eats sushi. And I'm like, 'Wait a minute — that — you're not a vegan?!'"
Keesh added he just got hit with that bombshell Monday.
"I've been teasing her and giving her such a hard time," he continued. "I actually promised her that I would bring that up in an interview, and boom, I did."
Keesh has also taken his teasing to Malachi's lines. He recently, and quite famously, called Chris Meloni's "OC" character, Elliot Stabler, "baldy" during a phone call between Malachi and Stabler, in which Stabler needed Malachi to use his famous hacking persona to verify Stabler was part of the hacking community as part of an undercover operation.
After the scene aired, Seiger tweeted: "they used baldy @WesamKeesh you did it you son of a b----."
The tweet led many fans to wonder if the line was improvised by Keesh.
"Yeah, so they've been very generous in letting me improvise a little bit here on the show, and that was one of the lines where I just improvised," Keesh explained. "I was trying to help out Meloni's character on a case and I might've taken it too far as Malachi, and I might've paid the price later on for it."
"Chris is amazing," Keesh said about working with his veteran "Law & Order" co-star, and added that working alongside him is "literally a masterclass in acting."
"It's an absolute treat getting to work with him and see how he lives in this character that he's been playing for decades now and still keep it fresh, exciting, meaningful: That's definitely the mark of a master actor," he said.
A newer character to the "Law & Order" universe is Ayanna Bell, a Black, gay sergeant with a strong spirit and personality who's partners with Stabler, and she's played by Danielle Moné Truitt, who's someone Keesh wishes he had more scenes with.
"There's only really a few times where we've actually gotten to cross paths as characters, but it's fun because she gives me this look — a couple times," Keesh explained. "Like, 'Who is this guy? Is this guy for real?' And I just love the look she gives me, like, 'Come on dude.'"
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Keesh also shared that when it comes to "Law & Order" crossover episodes, he'd like to have a scene with "SVU" icon Mariska Hargitay.
Some fans who have been rooting for Hargitay's Olivia Benson to take her relationship to the next level with her former partner and current friend "for now" Stabler have even compared Malachi and Jet to Benson and Stabler in their early days as partners.
"Well, it's an interesting comparison because I feel, maybe they have some similarities," he said, and noted the pairings are "more different than similar."
"Maybe (fans) are just happy that finally — any time a couple kisses on any of those 'Law & Order' shows — some form of satisfaction," he added, before noting Benson and Stabler haven’t kissed.
"It's like the longest tease ever."
As for working in the "Law & Order" universe, Keesh said he feels "an immense amount of gratitude right now."
"Most of the series regulars and the people who have been doing these 'Law & Order' shows are master actors. ... I feel like expressing such deep appreciation and gratitude for just being around my fellow colleagues and craftsmen, and being able to soak up all this amazing art and hopefully be able to express it in the future, too," he said.