For over 700 years now, we've watched the Law & Order franchise create episodes based on real-world crimes. And while the whole "ripped from the headlines" genre is fun, things get a little weird whenever Law & Order tackles celebrity scandals. See if you can spot the trend ...
#4. Mel Gibson and His Son Are Racist Murderers
It's hard to believe now, but back in the mid-2000s, Mel Gibson was still on the sane side of wacky as far as moviegoers were concerned. This era lasted until Gibson was arrested for drunk driving and opened a watershed of psycho by blaming the Jews for the wars of the world and naming his arresting officer "sugar tits." Suddenly, Mel Gibson was less of a "leading man" and more of a "Holy fuck, who is this guy?"
AFP / Staff / Getty
One more nail in Braveheart 2's coffin.
Law & Order responded to this incident by creating an episode featuring an anti-Semitic has-been actor arrested for drunk driving. (In a somewhat inspired move, this ersatz Mel Gibson was played by noted Hollywood pain in the ass Chevy Chase.) The show even had evil Clark Griswold throw out the "sugar tits" card.
So what was the difference between reality and the Dick Wolf-verse? This version of Mel Gibson was covered with the blood of a Jewish TV producer, literally. And not-Mel's 14-year-old son was just as racist as he was. It turns out that this version of Gibson and his son collaborated to murder and dispose of the body of a former colleague ... together. On top of the whole "Mel Gibson committed homicide" thing, the character renounces his kid and sends him up the river for their crime. Here's an almost completely contextless video montage of Chevy channeling his inner Mad Max -- just pretend you're watching Pierce Hawthorne: The Early Years.
#3. Jon & Kate Plus Murder
Hey, remember Jon Gosselin, the Ed Hardy-wearing, reality-star dad of eight kids? Of course you do. Hey, do you also remember when Jon Gosselin murdered Kate Gosselin? No? Neither do we! In the Law & Order episode "Reality Bites," Jim Gaffigan plays Larry Johnson, star of the surreptitiously renamed reality show Larry Plus 10, which chronicles a single father struggling to raise his 10 special needs children. Sure, Jim Gaffigan doesn't look like Jon Gosselin whatsoever, but if you squint, you can see a resemblance.
If "we want to punch them both" is enough to count as "resemblance."
As far as we know, the real Jon Gosselin's greatest crimes were his diamond studs, his unfortunate tattoo choices, and slipping up on child support payments. Law & Order's version of Gosselin bludgeoned his wife to death when she refused to let their kids be on TV. Maybe the writers of Law & Order had even stronger feelings about Kate Gosselin's lopsided hair than we did.
#2. Anna Nicole Smith Was Murdered! By Her Sister?
Even six years after her death, it's hard to look back on Anna Nicole Smith's life without a little bit of pity (unless you're working for Law & Order, that is). In the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Bombshell," Lorelei Mailer is a former stripper who is widowed by an elderly oil billionaire, has a drug addict son and newborn baby, and happens to look like this:
Holy shit, is that Milton Berle?
Keep in mind that A) Smith had only been dead for about two months when this episode aired and B) the Law & Order folks had the good taste to re-enact both her death and her son's death in the show.
Because compassion always loses in a fight against writer's block.
Classy! Only in this version of the traditional Anna Nicole narrative, the two deaths weren't necessarily a result of poor lifestyle choices or drug abuse or TrimSpa ingestion; they were homicides. Suspect #1? Her manager/husband/sleazeball baby daddy, David Cross.
The Daniel Day-Lewis of sleazeball baby daddies.
In the end, it wasn't her manager or drug habits that did her in, it was her country-ass sister, Jolene. Which is weird, because the real Anna Nicole Smith had lots of sisters, including one who ended up writing a book called Train Wreck after her death. But the last time we checked, there's a big gap between being an exploitative, fame-hungry nobody and murdering your own sister.
Brian Ach / WireImage / Getty
"Big" is a strong word.
#1. Chris Brown: Domestic Abuser, Terrible Person, MURDERER
If there's one story that doesn't need artistic embellishments, it's the saga of Chris Brown and Rihanna. He beat her up, they broke up, they got back together, and the whole world tries to look away while a domestic abuse victim reunites with her abuser. What else is there to dramatize? How about HOMICIDE?
In the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Funny Valentine," we not only see a re-enactment of the incident that got Chris and Rihanna in the headlines in the first place -- which, by the way, was a dick move -- but we also see a whole other side of Chris Brown (sorry, "Caleb Bryant"). In this version of the story, the singer kills Fake Rihanna's manager (with a gun, not his fists). And Fake Rihanna can't bear to put Fake Chris in jail, so she runs away with him to Bermuda. From there, things momentarily plateau for Mischa/Rihanna, until the unflinching cosmic laws of the Law & Order universe come crashing down and Caleb suddenly murders her in the closing seconds of the episode.
On the Law & Order Danger Scale, "person whose name is recognized by more than 10,000 people" ranks somewhere between "human cannonball" and "dynamite eater."