"Law and Order: SVU" is famous for ripping from the headlines, and for an upcoming episode, the crime drama is taking two of the year's biggest headlines and mashing them up.
Both are stories involving charges of racism — the Paula Deen scandal and the high-profile trial of George Zimmerman.
Cybill Shepherd will play celebrity chef Jolene Castille who shoots and kills an unarmed teen named Mehcad.
As executive producer Warren Leight explained to Entertainment Weekly, Jolene "thought she was being pursued by a rapist and turned around it was a teenager. And she shot him."
The episode will also delve into New York's controversial stop-and-frisk policies and racial profiling.
"Is racial profiling justifiable? Can self-defense involve racial profiling? We're diving right into that," Leight added.
Deen and Zimmerman dominated the media for weeks, if not months. Deen was disgraced after admitting during a discrimination case to using racial slurs in the past. She lost her Food Network show, many endorsement deals, and the adoration of millions of fans.
[Related: Paula Deen Cleared of Racist Claims in Court]
Zimmerman, meanwhile, was found not guilty last month in the shooting and killing of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin. His case created a maelstrom over racial profiling and gun laws.
While it seems surprising that "SVU" would tackle two huge headlines at once, Leight promises there's even more ripping to come when this season premieres Sept. 25.
"It's almost like we're being bombarded by headlines," he said. "It's tricky, but we'll be doing that a lot this season."
"Law & Order: SVU’s" 15th season will debut with a two-hour premiere on Wednesday, 9/25 at 9 PM on NBC.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Paula Deen
- George Zimmerman
- Warren Leight
- Cybill Shepherd