Law & Order: SVU to feature episode inspired by Harvey Weinstein scandal
In true-to-its-roots fashion, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is set to continue its trend of taking real-life headlines and turning them into episode storylines later this season. Entertainment Weekly reports that an upcoming episode of the police procedural/crime drama series will tackle the recent sexual assault and harassment scandal involving former Weinstein Company president Harvey Weinstein.
Law & Order: SVU executive producer Michael Chernuchin told EW, “We are hitting Harvey Weinstein head-on, but it’s not in the realm of the entertainment business. It’s a real important episode about the rape culture in an industry, and we wanted to try stretch the law to criminalize that sort of environment.”
The series’ writers were reportedly working on an episode exploring such themes before the Weinstein scandal broke in early October, when The New York Times released an exposé detailing multiple instances of alleged sexual harassment. Weinstein was then fired from The Weinstein Company following the report’s publication. Subsequent allegations against high-profile celebrities–such as Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, James Toback, Charlie Rose, John Lasseter, Al Franken, Jeffrey Tambor, and many more–have surfaced in the weeks since.
But rather than focusing directly on sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood and the entertainment world, the impending Law & Order: SVU episode will explore the airline industry. “We were actually working on a story about airline pilots and what a boys club that is,” said Chernuchin. “We were beating the story out and said, ‘Wow, this is exactly what the actresses go through in Hollywood. It’s the same environment.’ So we got all of our Harvey stuff out with airline pilots.”
Last season, Law & Order: SVU planned a Donald Trump-inspired episode that never made it to air. The episode, entitled “Unstopabble,” was set to feature Gary Cole as a Trump type who runs for office. During his journey toward victory and the White House, the character is accused of rape, which derails his campaign in a major way. “Unstoppable” was intended to air last October, but was postponed to a date after the 2016 elections and then pulled from the season’s docket altogether when Trump was elected U.S. President on November 8, 2016. NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt told Deadline earlier this year that the episode “is probably never going to air.”
The yet-untitled Weinstein-based episode is scheduled to premiere sometime in 2018. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Wednesdays on NBC.