Gretchen Steel

The evil Gretchen Steel

Gretchen Steel (Ally Walker) is a villainess from "Driven," episode 18.05 of Law & Order (airdate January 23, 2008). She is the wife of investment banker Nolan Steel, and the mother of their two sons, Andy and Josh.

Andy and Josh Steel were both friends and fellow soccer teammates of David Kendall, who was found shot to death along with a 10-year-old Black girl, Tanya Anderson. As the episode progressed, it was revealed that Ray Manning shot and killed David after seeing him and the Steel brothers chasing his son, Will, over the boys' basketball. The trio wielded baseball bats, and fearing that they would kill Will, Ray fired the shot, which also inadvertently killed Tanya. After Ray's arrest, a further investigation into the incident revealed that Gretchen was the one who provided the bats for her sons and David.

Gretchen's villainous persona was revealed early in the episode when Andy's coach stated that he was kicked off the team for too many red cards. One incident included Andy delivering a headbutt to an opposing player, under the encouragement of Gretchen, who had always informed the boys to stand up for themselves. Gretchen delivered her sinister advice to her sons and David regarding Will, as she drove to the Manning house and gave them the bats to wield while threatening Ray. The bats found in the trunk of Gretchen's car ended up revealing her role, and she was arrested due to the fact that her actions led to the murderous events, leading to charges of manslaughter.

Gretchen was also revealed as a racist during the trial, which saw both herself and Ray tried together. Andy's testimony revealed that Gretchen gave out the bats under the assumption that Will was carrying a knife, and it was during Gretchen's cross-examination from Michael Cutter that saw the villainess defend her actions, stating that she was taught to stand up to bullies. Cutter later revealed that Gretchen had filed numerous complaints against her Black neighbors, and in response, the evil Gretchen stated that though "cultural differences" exist, everyone should live in a "decent, safe place." After both Gretchen and Ray turned down deals that would have given a five-year sentence for the former and ten years for the latter, both of them ended up convicted for their roles in the death of Tanya, but not in David's death. The jury's foreperson stated that because both people were directly involved in the events, they should get the exact same sentence.

Trivia Edit

  • Ally Walker later played another Law & Order franchise villainess, appearing as evil psychiatrist Fran Stanton on SVU.
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