‘Law and Order: SVU’ Season 21 Will Have An Episode Inspired by Jussie Smollett Controversy

Law and Order: SVU is back with its historic twenty-first season. Lieutenant Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) returned with her team including Sergeant Fin Tutuola (Ice-T), Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish), and Detective Dominick Carisi (Peter Scanavino).

However, Carisi made the switch “to the dark side,” as Tutuola said, and became the new SVU A.D.A after Peter Stone (Philip Winchester) left. Additionally, Deputy Chief William Dodds (Peter Gallagher) told Benson he is transferring to the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Task Force in Staten Island and promoted the lieutenant to captain.

Finally, the team has a new Bureau Chief named Vanessa Hadid (Zuleikha Robinson) who may be involved with some shady people. Even though several changes are happening within Law and Order: SVU, the show will still have “ripped from the headlines” episodes, or stories inspired by recent events.

Us Weekly caught up with SVU actor Ice-T where he gave a spoiler about a “ripped from the headline” story viewers can expect in Season 21.

Law and Order SVU Season 21
Peter Scanavino, Kelli Giddish, Dick Wolf, Marishka Hargitay and Ice-T | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

‘Law and Order: SVU’ Season 21 to have Empire-inspired episode

At History Is Made: Law and Order SVU Celebrates a Milestone at The Paley Center for Media, the actor and rapper who portrays Tutuola, Ice-T talked to Us Weekly about what viewers can expect for the new season.

He admitted that “Empire-ish drama” would feature on an upcoming episode, referring to the Empire actor, Jussie Smollett, who sparked controversy after he claimed to be a victim of a bizarre hate crime.

In January 2019, the actor told the police that two unknown men called him homophobic and racial slurs, poured a substance on him (thought to be bleach), and then tied a rope around his neck.

The Chicago police department conducted an investigation and concluded that Smollett paid two Nigerian-American men, who were extras on Empire, to stage the assault.

A grand jury then charged him with a class four felony for filing a false police report a month later, which prosecutors agreed to drop if he performed a set amount of community service hours and forfeited his $10,000 bond.

Because of the controversy surrounding Smollett, Empire removed his character from the last two episodes of the fifth season and the entire final sixth season.

Other ‘Law and Order: SVU’ episodes inspired by real life

The most recent example of Law and Order: SVU loosely basing an episode from a real-life story is in Season 21’s “I’m Going To Make You a Star.” In the premiere episode, an aspiring actress accused a high-powered mogul, Sir Tobias Moore, of attempted rape when he assaulted her in a “casting couch” like-setting.

Moore has several detectives, sergeants, generals, and even the new Bureau Chief in his pocket, but Captain Olivia Benson and her team caught the predator in the act and immediately arrested him.

After his public perp walk, Benson was met with numerous women at the squad room, holding up #MeToo signs and claimed Moore assaulted them as well.

Although not identical, the SVU episode is eerily similar to that of film producer Harvey Weinstein who has been accused by over 80 women of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse over a span of 30 years.

His alleged victims created the MeToo movement on social media, which inspired hundreds of other women to open up about their own sexual assault experiences. Watch Law and Order: SVU Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST on NBC.