It’s no mystery that NBC mainstay Law & Order: SVU occasionally looks to the real world to draw inspiration for its often twisted cases, but there is a big mystery coming to Season 17, and it all revolves around Robert Durst. Or, rather, someone whose life story closely resembles that of Robert Durst. Norbert Twurst, perhaps? Fizzbert Darst? I could do this all day.

Law & Order: SVU will dedicate its Season 17 premiere – one that is already set to last two hours – on the sadistic roller coaster ride that is the adult life of New York real estate heir Robert Durst, who has been suspected of several crimes over the past 20 years, including kidnapping and murder. The facts behind his multiple court cases were compiled with an exclusive interview and turned into the HBO docuseries The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which became one of the most talked-about TV programs of the year when it debuted in February. That should serve as a good blueprint for SVU, although some of the facts will presumably be altered, and they probably won’t talk about him getting arrested for public urination inside a CVS.

According to THR, the episode will also take on an affluent New Yorker who is suspected of several murders, though there isn’t a lot of physical evidence that can be used against him. And from the looks of the episode preview, it looks like they’ll also be honing in on the moment in the Jinx finale when Durst is talking to himself without realizing that his microphone is still recording, and he arguably “confesses” to the murders he’s been accused of. Regardless of how earnest the admission was, it still made for one of the most chilling endings of any TV show or movie in recent memory. If Law & Order can come close to matching that, I’ll be impressed.

Check out the promo for the episode below, complete with body parts in trash bags.



Durst ended up getting arrested in New Orleans on the day before the Jinx finale aired, for the 2000 murder of Susan Berman and possession of a firearm by a felon (among other things). Not in good health, he’s currently being held inside a prison-run mental health facility and is awaiting his trial. It’s unclear if SVU will take its headline-ripping all the way to the present, or if they’ll only focus on a portion of his past.

Season 17 of Law & Order: SVU will premiere on NBC on Wednesday, September 23, at 9 p.m.

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