"Law & Order: SVU" is continuing its tradition of "ripped from the headlines" stories: Among the real-life issues it will tackle in Season 19 are the recent Charlottesville riots and a cyber-bullying episode that will be "our answer to '13 Reasons Why'."
Showrunner Michael Chernuchin tells The Hollywood Reporter why the August 11 clash in Charlottesville between white supremacists and counter-protestors will make a good SVU ep: "Conflict. It's just the state of the world today with everybody. Everybody's political now and everything is political now and we want to deal with that."
The show typically deals with "special victims," that is, children, vulnerable elders, or victims of sexual assault. James Fields, who was arrested for the fatal vehicular attack on 32-year-old protestor Heather Hayer, had previously been arrested for domestic abuse, so perhaps the episode will explore the fact that many mass murderers have a history of domestic violence.
Last season included the episode "Real Fake News," in which a congressman was falsely accused of running a child sex ring. But not every timely political story sees the light of the day. The Season 18 episode with Gary Cole as a Trump-like politician who is accused of assaulting multiple women was never aired.
Chernuchin says that doesn't mean they're done with controversial episodes: "I'm going to present both political views and let the audience decide which one is right. ... at the end of every episode, I want half the audience to throw their shoes at the television and the other half to stand up and cheer."
Per THR, the other topics the show will tackle this season include cat-fishing, cyber bullying -– which Chernuchin describes as "our answer to '13 Reasons Why'" -- and an episode inspired by the violent removal of Dr. David Dao from an overbooked United flight.
Another episode will be based on the battle over British infant Charlie Gard. His life and death struggle became news around the world as his parents clashed with medical experts over an experimental treatment.
"Law & Order: SVU" returns Wednesday, September 27 on NBC.