Even though they often do rip things from the headlines, we weren’t sure a Charlottesville – Law & Order: SVU season 19 episode would be coming. This was one of the most terrible events of the summer, but on paper, it was hard to connect the specifics of the event with what the likes of Benson and the team typically deal with.
So why take this on? Well, it mostly just seems like because it’s a hard subject to avoid on a show that is so topical. Speaking in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, executive producer Michael Chernuchin had the following to say:
“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.”
In the end, we do think that the team is going to figure out how to incorporate an event like this into the show in a way that is respectful, and captures the essence of what happened without just mirroring it exactly. That’s always something that the show has done.
However, getting too topical has also bitten the show before — look at “Unstoppable,” the season 18 episode that featured Gary Cole as a Donald Trump-like political figure. That episode never aired on NBC, and we don’t think it ever will. One of the ways that Chernuchin seems to be avoiding that sort of situation this season is by telling stories that don’t reinforce too much of one political viewpoint:
“Because I’m not going to a choose a side. I won’t choose a side. I’m going to present both political views and let the audience decide which one is right. My goal, and I told the writers on this on the first day of our writers’ room, is 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.”
Ultimately this does feel right for the sort of show that we know SVU to be. You have to remember that this is a series that, at its core, is about people finding criminals and then interpreting who is right and wrong within a court of law. There should be room for the audience to come up with interpretations of their own, given that this is the sort of show that can offer intellectual discussions. It can be a great program to marathon while still also being one that makes you think and generate conversation. We’re excited to see what the team this season is going to bring to the table when SVU premieres next month.
What do you think: Is a Charlottesville – Law & Order: SVU episode a smart idea, or does it all depend on the story? Share in the comments!
Meanwhile, head over to the link here in the event you do want some other casting news! After all, Annabeth Gish of The X-Files is coming on board for a guest spot coming up. (Photo: NBC.)