There’s not a single entity that embodies the phrase “art imitates life” as effectively as Law & Order: SVU.
At the top of the year, Jussie Smollett claimed he was attacked by MAGA supporters who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him in the middle of the night in Chicago. The Chicago Police Department later determined the claim to be false, accusing two of Smollett’s associates of assisting him in faking the attack. In a real-life plot twist, Smollett was then charged with disorderly conduct. However, those charges were soon dropped and Smollett was ordered to pay a fine and do community service.
Cue the Special Victims Unit (SVU) section of the Law & Order franchise, which is famous for its “ripped from the headlines” storylines. Much like people initially predicted, the popular procedural is airing an episode that appears to be heavily inspired by the Smollett case.
NBC provided a short synopsis, describing the upcoming episode as such: “When a celebrity is attacked, his story becomes a national obsession.” In the promo clip, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is on the case as a pop star named Mathis claims he was assaulted, then accuses the NYPD of “trying to make [him] look like a liar.”
As Vibe notes:
In the past, the series has borrowed other big moments from the headlines like Chris Brown’s assault against Rihanna (“Funny Valentine,” Season 14), the very insane case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard (“Pathological,” Season 19), the trial of Casey Anthony (“Selfish,” Season 10), the Brock Turner rape case (“Rape Interrupted,” Season 18) and the mysterious murder of Jon Benet Ramsey (“Appearances,” Season 4).
The entire saga has been quite the rollercoaster and every time a new facet of the journey is revealed, I’m forced to liken the whole thing to “the song that never ends.” The latest chapter of the saga comes from AP News, who recently reported that a judge determined the special prosecutor assigned to investigate the State Attorney’s abrupt dismissal had no special bias. So, it looks like this (sad) song really won’t end anytime soon.
As far as the Smollett-inspired episode of SVU, the possibilities are endless. Will two buff Nigerians show up as witnesses? Will there be a clip of a veteran comedian referring to him as “Juicy Smoulé?” Will there be a Lee Daniels inspired character named Daniel Lee? I guess we have to tune in to see.
Law & Order: SVU airs tonight (Thursday) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.