Ripped From the Celebrity Headlines, 'Law & Order' Edition
By Scott Harris Posted Oct 25th 2009 12:00PM
Just when you thought that things couldn't get any worse for 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' stars Jon and Kate Gosselin in their legal battle over the show and their children, they've something even more powerful than our nation's judicial system: the long arm of the fictional law on 'Law & Order'.
Since the debut of the franchise, 'Law & Order' (and its spin-off shows) have specialized in stories that are ripped from the headlines. And historically, some of the biggest headlines -- and biggest episodes -- have resulted from cases involving celebrities. The show lampooned Jon and Kate in the October 16 episode, and we thought we'd take a look back at some of the more interesting attempts 'Law & Order' has made over the years to argue their cases in the most powerful venue of all: the court of public opinion.
Last year, word that 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' was planning to base an episode on the tragic death of actor Heath Ledger caused an uproar on the internet. But when the episode actually aired, it seemed that the producers, perhaps fearing backlash, had changed so many details that the story was no longer about Ledger at all. Or had they? You be the judge.
Mel Gibson's arrest for drunk driving and subsequent anti-Semitic, sexist rant quickly became a media sensation, so it's no surprise that 'Law & Order' quickly swooped in for a parody. The surprise, though, was in the casting: Chevy Chase played the Gibson role.
The sad saga of Anna Nicole Smith's death was overshadowed only by the unsightly legal battle that followed. And when you add death to legal battles, there's only one show that can do it justice: 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'.
It can be hard to remember now, but before Michael Jackson's untimely death he was often the subject of both media ridicule and legal problems, much of it stemming from allegations of child molestation. 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' sometimes seemed unsure whether to play the case straight or for laughs; we're not sure they ever succeeded in figuring it out.
Nancy Grace has become a lightning rod of controversy thanks to her CNN show 'Nancy Grace', which seems to suit her and her ratings just fine. When her accusations towards guest Melinda Duckett led to Duckett's suicide, however, some argued that Grace had stepped over the line. Either way, 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' had the perfect tease for their next show.
One of the most meteoric rises from anonymity to superstardom was the ascension of mixed martial arts phenom Kimbo Slice, who rose to sudden fame thanks to amateur videos of his backyard brawls. HIs new fame had its drawbacks, though, such as this episode of 'Law & Order' examining the dark side of fight clubs.
The 'Law & Order' franchise has become famous for ripping stories form the headlines, but in this case they accidentally made their own headlines when they targeted 'The View' co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck for a bit of unnecessary roughness. When a young woman named "Elisabeth Hassenback" showed up raped and murdered on 'Special Victims Unit', Hasselbeck rightly took offense and along with her 'View' co-hosts let the 'SVU' producers know on-air that they had gone a little too far.
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