One of the biggest celebrity court case stories has been that of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in recent months. Heard and Depp are currently both in the appeals process after the verdict came down in their infamous defamation court case. Law & Order shows have had a “ripped from the headlines” approach to storytelling for years, and now it looks as if Mariska Hargitay’s SVU spinoff will be tackling a storyline similar to that case.
We’ve known that both Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Organized Crime have been getting back into production in recent weeks, thanks to delightful social media posts from Mariska Hargitay and her former (and occasionally reunited) onscreen partner Christopher Meloni. This week, however, the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp storyline news broke thanks to scenes that were filmed outside, which saw Hargitay escorting a young woman down a set of stairs while fans held up “team” and “I stand with” signs.
The Dick Wolf production has yet to confirm this will be an episode similar to the defamation case we saw play out in the courtroom thanks to its televised footage. However, the signage is pretty telling. During the actual Heard and Depp trial, fans held up similar signs. In addition, the hashtags #IStandWithJohnnyDepp and #IStandWithAmberHeard became gathering places on social media during the trial, and similarly seem to be reflected in the SVU crowd signage. Of course, in this case people are standing with "Kelsey" and "Austin."
When Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial was still in the process of playing out, it was a zoo outside. And I mean that in the literal sense honestly, as one woman even brought alpacas named Dolce and Inti to the area outside the Virginia courtroom following a comment Johnny Depp had made on the stand. Depp had previously stated he would not return to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies even if they offered him “$300 million” and “a million alpacas;” the comment went viral and alpacas even came up repeatedly throughout the Heard/Depp defamation trial.
There were no alpacas during the filming of Law & Order: SVU – at least none the photographers caught -- but we did see Mariska Hargitay escorting the young woman down some stairs and then heading to her car.
We’ll have to wait and see how close the upcoming Season 24 episode of Law & Order: SVU ends up being to the defamation trial that played out earlier in 2022. L&O definitely has done “ripped from the headlines” content as recently as last season. Oftentimes the stories are more adjacent to whatever is happening in real life or touch on similar topics rather than being a complete rehash of the real-life story. The verdicts are sometimes different too.
We won’t have too much longer to wait to find out. Law & Order: SVU is currently filming Season 24 for a fall 2022 debut on NBC. It will be joined by its sister shows Law & Order and Law & Order: Organized Crime. You can check out more about upcoming premiere with our full fall TV can or stay tuned with what's happening in production on Instagram.
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Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.