'Law & Order: SVU' to combine Paula Deen scandal with Trayvon Martin case
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is famous for its "ripped from the headlines" plots, and this fall, it's going to tackle not one but two huge news events: the killing of Trayvon Martin and the Paula Deen scandal.
Not only that, according to executive producer Warren Leight, the cases will be combined into one story. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the show boss explained, "(Jeffrey) Tambor is a defense attorney representing a very high-profile celebrity woman chef who thought she was being pursued by a rapist and turned around and it was a teenager, and she shot him."
In June, Deen came under fire after admitting to using racial slurs in a May 17 deposition in a discrimination lawsuit. She has since lost a cookbook deal, and Food Network has declined to renew her contract. According to EW, Cybill Shephard will be playing the part of the chef.
Reps for Deen did not reply to a request for comment.
Seventeen-year-old Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February last year while walking to his dad's girlfriend's home in Florida. Zimmerman, who was accused of racially profiling the black teen, was found not guilty of murder. According to photos from the set posted on BuzzFeed, it appears Martin will be a young man named Mehcad, and protests similar to the ones held during Zimmerman's trial will be part of the episode.
Leight told EW that the "SVU" episode will address the race aspect head on. "Is racial profiling justifiable? Can self-defense involve racial profiling? We're diving right into that," he said.
According to NBC, the episode is scheduled to air sometime in October.
In recent years, the show has tackled other hot-button cases, including the Chris Brown and Rihanna relationship last season, Casey Anthony, Dominique Strauss Kahn and more.
"Law & Order: SVU" kicks off season 15 Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. on NBC.