The 21st season premiere of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, titled "I'm Going to Make You a Star," tackled the topic of sexual assault in Hollywood and drew inspiration from the #MeToo movement and the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The episode follows Olivia Benson and her team as they investigate Sir Tobias Moore, a powerful Hollywood executive accused of assaulting aspiring actresses.
The episode highlights the challenges faced by victims in bringing powerful perpetrators to justice and explores the corruption and complicity that often surround such cases. It also del into the psychological manipulation and intimidation tactics used by predators in positions of power.
The decision to reference Harvey Weinstein early on in the episode was made to provide context and emphasize that the story was not specifically about him but rather an amalgamation of various powerful serial predators. The episode also addresses the role of enablers, such as assistants, who facilitate the predatory behavior of these individuals.
The character of Bureau Chief Vanessa Hadid initially doubts the claims made by one of the victims, reflecting the tendency for some people, including prominent female figures, to dismiss or defend accused individuals based on personal experiences or relationships. The episode aims to shed light on the complexities and challenges faced by survivors of sexual assault.
The writer of the episode, Warren Leight, drew inspiration from real-life stories and conversations with assault survivors. He wanted to depict the insidious nature of sexual assault and the lasting impact has on victims. Leight also aimed to create a formidable adversary for Olivia Benson and highlight the ongoing prevalence of sexual assault despite the progress made by the #Me movement.
In terms of the future of the show, there will be some reshuffling within the department, with Peter Gallagher's character, Dodds, moving to another series and Olivia Benson being promoted. A new chief will be introduced in episode three to further shake up the dynamics of the show and bring fresh perspectives.
Overall, the episode seeks to address the systemic issues surrounding sexual assault, shed light on the experiences of survivors, and emphasize the importance of continuing the fight against sexual misconduct.