“There are ways, we will find our way in to tell the story,” Leight told the outlet. “Presumably our cops will still be trying to do the right thing but it’s going to be harder for them and they’re going to understand why it’s hard for them.”
Leight went on to share that the “SVU” writers’ room will see changes in an “effort to bring in new voices, fresh voices, different voices.”
As for the drama show itself, Leight explained that “SVU” has “tried really hard in the last year to show how class and race affect the outcomes of justice in society,” however, he noted that he’s “beginning to suspect ‘really hard’ wasn’t enough.”
Mariska Hargitay as Lieutenant Olivia Benson in the ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ episode titled, ‘Info Wars.’
“This has to be a moment where people make themselves uncomfortable — where people in power have to make themselves uncomfortable,” he said.
And when it comes to how cops are viewed on “SVU,” Leight said that he “can’t make every episode about a bad cop.” Still, he stated that Lieutenant Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) “makes mistakes … but she’s empathic, which is I think what separates the cops on our television show from a lot of what we’re seeing these days on our livestreams.”
Leight added that he’s “been made uncomfortable by a number of shows that glorify the use of violence in interrogation or the use of threat.”
Across the country, people have been protesting against police brutality, specifically against members of the black community, in the wake of the death of Floyd, who died while in police custody after an officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, moments that were captured on cellphone video. In the footage, Floyd, 46, shouts “I cannot breathe” and “don’t kill me,” before losing consciousness. He was later pronounced dead.
Since-fired Chauvin was later charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. The other three officers at the scene — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao — were also fired and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
The future “SVU” episodes will also touch on the novel coronavirus pandemic, Leight said.
“We’re going to reflect New York in the pandemic. What happens to someone who is sexually assaulted during the height of the coronavirus outbreak,” he shared.
Back in February, it was announced that “Law & Order: SVU” would be getting a three-year renewal.