7:45am PT by Kate Stanhope
Roger Ailes-Inspired 'SVU' Episode Hits Close to Home (Exclusive Video)
Fox News is still fresh off the sudden exit of longtime anchor Bill O'Reilly following allegations of sexual harassment, but Law & Order: SVU is ready to reopen another recent wound at the cable news network.
Wednesday's episode centers on a news anchor (Bonnie Somerville) who accuses her boss, a news network head named Howard Coyle (Christopher McDonald), of rape. While it doesn't take long for viewers to figure out that the hour is inspired by the accusations that surrounded former Fox News network chief Roger Ailes last summer, the similarities between the storyline and the actual events leading to Ailes' ouster are on full display in The Hollywood Reporter's exclusive video from the episode.
In the video, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Chief Dodds (returning guest Peter Gallagher) speak with the accused network head about the allegations against him. "Any sexual assault claims are baseless, more than false and, from where I sit, defamatory," Coyle tells the police.
That final word choice echoes Ailes' first statement after Gretchen Carlson made her sexual harassment claims against him in July 2016. Ailes eventually resigned as Fox News chairman and CEO 15 days after Carlson's claims came to light.
Like Ailes' initial statement about Carlson, Coyle tries to connect the accusations to the network performance of Somerville's character before he opts for a more personal approach. Things with Benson and Dodds escalate quickly when Coyle threatens to dig up dirt on the NYPD, and particularly the recent death of one of their own. "I just want to remind you that this organization is in the business of uncovering and exposing the truth," he says.
Wednesday's episode, "The Newsroom," marks the NBC drama's latest pulled-from-the-headlines episode this season. Other recent episodes were inspired by the Netflix true crime docu Making a Murderer, the Brock Turner sexual assault case and a Donald Trump-inspired episode that was written and shot before the Celebrity Apprentice host was elected president and has yet to air. (However, Law & Order: SVU continues to be a work of fiction.)
Check out the full exclusive video below.
Law & Order: SVU airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.