'TV's Top 5': A Conversation About Police and Hollywood With the 'Law & Order: SVU' Showrunner

Law & Order: SVU featuring Mariska Hargitay and Ice-T- showrunner Warren Leight -Publicity still - Getty - Inset - H 2020
Virginia Sherwood/NBC; Inset: Law & Order: SVU featuring Mariska Hargitay and Ice-TStephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Welcome to another episode of TV's Top 5, The Hollywood Reporter's TV podcast.

Every week, hosts Lesley Goldberg (West Coast TV editor) and Daniel Fienberg (chief TV critic) break down the week in TV news with context from the business and critical sides, welcome showrunners, executive and other guests and provide a critical guide of what to watch (or skip, as the case may be).

This is our 73rd episode and while Dan and I typically feature three newsy topics, a showrunner interview pegged to a new or returning show and the Critic's Corner viewer guide, this week, there's only one real subject that everyone is talking about: the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police that has sparked protests across the globe. It has, once again, instigated conversations about the inequitable state of American justice, as well as flaws, especially along racial lines, of law enforcement institutions.

Joining us this week for a conversation about the way television has portrayed police is Warren Leight, the showrunner of NBC's long-running drama Law & Order: SVU, and the creator of its long-gestating spinoff, Law & Order: Hate Crimes. Warren is also a Tony winner for the play Side Man and created the FX drama Lights Out and was a showrunner on HBO's In Treatment.

The 45-minute interview explores topics that also include the lack of black showrunners, specifically on police procedurals; the role writers are now faced with to stop the hero cop narrative as well as how the NBC procedural will address the narratives that have come from the protests across the globe.