"Law & Order: SVU" to tackle Trayvon Martin, Paula Deen

The cast of "Law & Order: SVU." NBC

"Law & Order: SVU" has never shied away from tackling real-life headlines -- and it's combining two of them for an upcoming episode.

The crime drama's 15th season will feature an episode inspired by both the George Zimmerman trial and the Paula Deen controversy, executive producer Warren Leight has confirmed.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Leight explained, "[Jeffrey] Tambor is a defense attorney representing a very high-profile celebrity woman chef who thought she was being pursued by a rapist and turned around it was a teenager. And she shot him."

"There's a lot of stop and frisk elements to that as well," he added.

Cybill Shephard will portray the chef, and Leslie Odom Jr. ("Smash") is playing a minister of the slain child in what will be the season's third episode.

The revelations came a day after pictures surfaced from the "SVU" set that implied a Trayvon Martin-centric episode was in the works. One photo shows actors holding up signs at a protest similar to ones that occurred during and after Zimmerman's trial.

Leight told EW the episode won't shy away from tough questions. "Is racial profiling justifiable? Can self-defense involve racial profiling? We're diving right into that," he said. "Can that happen in New York? Absolutely."

"Law & Order: SVU" returns with a two-hour season premiere on Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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