Tessa McKellen
Tessa McKellen
Name Tessa McKellen
Title Senior partner
Affiliation Jackson & Walsh
Occupation Attorney
Pathology Double proxy murderer
Con artist
Family Linus McKellen (husband)
Unnamed father (deceased)
Status Imprisoned for life
Actor Rebecca De Mornay
First Appearance "Manipulated"

Tessa McKellen was the wife of Linus McKellen. She pretended to be paralyzed.


Tessa grew up as the daughter of an attorney and eventually followed in his footsteps, becoming an attorney as well and working at his firm. She eventually met and married a man named Linus McKellen. In 2003, Tessa was involved in a car accident while her husband was behind the wheel and she was temporarily paralyzed. Even though she recovered, Tessa liked the attention she got from her condition and pretended to still be paralyzed. She still handled cases for her firm, but most of her day-to-day operations was taken over by her subordinate, Vicky Emily Riggs.

When her father passed away in 2005, Tessa inherited his share of the firm. In 2006, she suspected her husband of cheating on her and hired Walter Inman, a former employee of a private contractor company she represented, to spy on her husband. She also hired him to steal some viruses so she could inject herself with them to make her sicker. Inman eventually informed Tessa that Linus was sleeping with Vicky, who was moonlighting as a stripper, and another stripper named Josie Post. As a result, Tessa hired Inman to kill both women and frame her husband to punish him for cheating on her, unaware that Josie only gave Linus permission to use her place to hook up with Vicky.


On January 18, Inman rappels down after Linus had sex with Vicky in her apartment and chokes her to death. Tessa is questioned by Detectives Benson and Stabler, and she points them to a labor case involving a mobbed-up strip club she was working on, knowing it would connect to Vicky's double life as a stripper. When the detectives arrive at her house to question her husband, she defends him and tells them to get a court order for their DNA when they ask for it. When they bring Linus to the station, Tessa tries to go with him, but he says she needs rest and goes alone.

When Linus returns, Tessa performs oral sex on him and gives his DNA to Inman to further implicate her husband. On January 20, Inman kills Josie, plants Linus' DNA on her, and waits for Tessa's plan to be put into action. However, Inman forgot to unlock Josie's front door and the police realize someone entered by the window. When Benson and Stabler come to interview her in the hospital about possible clients trying to frame her husband, Tessa asserts attorney-client privilege to stonewall them. Inman is eventually arrested and Tessa's DNA is found on the sample on Josie. Police interview her with her attorney present. Tessa denies involvement in the murders and eventually leaves the station when they don't have enough to implicate her. When the police discover Inman is using the money used to pay him for his daughter's college expenses, he tells them everything, including her faked condition, and she is arrested.

Her attorney sets a meeting with Dr. George Huang to try and assert that Tessa isn't competent to stand trial. Despite Huang concluding that Tessa has Munchausen syndrome, she is found competent to stand trial and aid in her defense. At the competency hearing, Tessa fools Judge Lena Petrovsky into believing she isn't faking and declares her unfit to stand trial. Benson and Stabler eventually convince Linus that she is lying, and in an act of outrage, he pushes her into their pool. Tessa floats in the pool for a while, but is forced to reveal she can swim and walk, proving her lies, and Linus leaves her in disgust. She is imprisoned for two counts of first-degree murder, grand larceny, and fraud.

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