The Law & Order brand used to pride itself on its “ripped from the headlines” plots, which gave its various shows countless opportunities to weigh in on hot-button topics while keeping enough distance from reality to avoid looking like it was actually exploiting real victims. Unfortunately, whatever power “ripped from the headlines” had was completely jettisoned a little over a year ago when NBC first backed off of airing “Unstoppable,” an episode of Law & Order: SVU that focused on a Donald Trump-like politician who had been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. Then, NBC quietly revealed that the episode wouldn’t air at all in the then-current SVU season, with the showrunner suggesting that the episode was no longer relevant in the wake of Trump’s election win.
Now, SVU is once again ripping from the headlines with a storyline inspired by another famous rich guy who allegedly assaulted multiple women: Harvey Weinstein. According to Entertainment Weekly, the episode will be about airline pilots instead of the entertainment industry, but it was written just as the Harvey Weinstein scandal was breaking and the writers decided to get all of their “Harvey stuff” out in that story. It’ll reportedly deal with “rape culture in an industry” that is known for being a “boys club,” much like the world of Hollywood producers, and it’ll apparently “stretch the law to criminalize that sort of environment.”
Assuming Weinstein doesn’t somehow win the presidency and scare NBC off, the episode will air at some point next year.