Many social media users have cited the 19-season run of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” as a reminder that sex crimes have long pre-dated Harvey Weinstein. To the surprise of no one, the disgraced former studio head — whose dozens of accusers recently inspired countless others to speak out against powerful men they’ve encountered in the workplace — will inspire a 2018 episode of the Dick Wolf-created NBC procedural.
The show’s executive producer, Michael Chernuchin, told Entertainment Weekly that “we are hitting Harvey Weinstein head-on” with a fictionalized account of predators who work in the airline industry.
While readying a previously-planned script about “airline pilots and what a boys club that is,” Chernuchin said he and his writers realized, “‘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.”
Weinstein is currently the subject of police investigations for allegedly committing rapes in New York, Los Angeles, and London, where law enforcement is also looking into similar claims against Kevin Spacey. It remains unknown whether either man will face charges.
Chernuchin called his upcoming Mariska Hargitay-starring storyline “a real important episode about the rape culture in an industry. We wanted to try to stretch the law to criminalize that sort of environment.” This year, Hargitay — also a producer on the series — produced “I Am Evidence,” a documentary about untested rape kits that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The “ripped from the headlines” tagline has accompanied many installments in the mammoth “Law and Order” franchise. Past episodes of the original “Law & Order” were based on cases involving the likes of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Mike Tyson, Anna Nicole Smith, O.J. Simpson, John Gotti, Ted Kaczynski, Michael Jackson, David Carradine, Mel Gibson, and Charles Manson (who died last week and will also figure into Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film).
Miramax and The Weinstein Company, both co-founded by Weinstein, produce “Project Runway,” the long-running reality TV competition that aired on Bravo for its first five seasons. Bravo is owned by NBC Universal.