Continuing its tradition of "ripped from the headlines" stories, Law & Order: SVU will base an episode on the Harvey Weinstein scandal. It seems like every single day as of late brings several new scandals revolving around celebrities or other powerful entertainment industry figures being accused of sexual offenses. As any TV fan knows, in the Law & Order universe, said offenses are considered especially heinous. Thus, it's left up to Olivia Benson and the rest of the SVU squad to investigate.
While it feels like a lot longer ago than it actually was at this point, the Weinstein scandal effectively opened the floodgates for all the other accusations that have followed. Weinstein has been accused of various offenses by multiple women, including sexual harassment, misconduct, and rape. Since the allegations first began to surface against him, Weinstein has found himself kicked out of his own company, and quickly reduced from powerful movie producer to Hollywood pariah.
Now, EW reports that Law & Order: SVU is set to examine the Weinstein scandal as part of its currently airing season 19. However, the subject will be tackled a bit less directly than some might hope. Instead of being set in Hollywood, the SVU episode is set in the airline industry. Here's why that decision was made, according to executive producer Michael Chernuchin.
"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."
"We were actually working on a story about airline pilots and what a boys club that is. 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."
That said, there is some cause for fans to wonder if this indirect take on the Weinstein scandal will even air. The last time SVU was set to tackle a similar public case, NBC ended up pumping the brakes and not airing the episode. This happened just last year, as SVU was set to air 'Unstoppable,' which starred Gary Cole as a Donald Trump-esque politician whose campaign was rocked by sexual assault allegations. 'Unstoppable' was originally set to air prior to the 2016 election, then was pushed back to after the election, then was shelved entirely.
Presuming that SVU's so far untitled Weinstein-based episode does make it to air, it won't be until after the new year, although an exact date has yet to be revealed. Also unclear at this juncture is who will guest star as the villain of the piece. Knowing SVU, it'll probably end up being an actor that fans wouldn't immediately expect to portray a Weinstein-like figure.
Law & Order: SVU season 19 airs Wednesdays at 9pm on NBC.