Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will continue its tradition of ripped-from-the-headlines storytelling with a take on the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
“We are hitting Harvey Weinstein head-on, but it’s not in the realm of the entertainment business,” executive producer Michael Chernuchin tells EW exclusively. “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.” (A rep from NBC noted that SVU is fiction.)
In early October, the New York Times published an exposé on major Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, detailing decades of alleged sexual harassment. Weinstein was subsequently fired by The Weinstein Company, and the revelations started a snowball effect of allegations against other high profile Hollywood figures, including Kevin Spacey, James Toback, and Brett Ratner, among many others.
Instead of SVU‘s episode directly taking place in Hollywood, however, the hour is centered on the airline industry. The SVU writers had already been working on the episode when the Weinstein news initially broke. “We were actually working on a story about airline pilots and what a boys club that is,” Chernuchin says. “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.”
The episode is slated to air in 2018.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.