Law and Order: SVU's Terry Richardson-Inspired Episode Was Pretty Damn Thinly Veiled

It took some time to do it properly, but Law and Order: SVU finally made a ripped-from-the-headlines episode that referred to the persistent sexual abuse allegations against fashion photographer and creative facial hair-haver Terry Richardson. It even featured a chipper assistant photographing the incident, as several models allege happened when they entered Uncle Terry’s lair.

The episode, “Fashionable Crimes,” follows the travails of a young model who agrees to take photos for a famed photographer named Alvin Gilbert (pronounced the French way), who is identifiable as a creep by his jaunty fedora, numerous necklaces, and graying stubble. As he snaps away, making the woman progressively more uncomfortable, a brief clip of Lady Gaga’s “Do What U Want” can be heard playing in the background, the song featuring R. Kelly and whose scrapped video (shot by Richardson) has been described as “literally an ad for rape.” Subtle!

After Gilbert rapes the model on camera —an incident that’s shown in slightly more lurid detail than SVU has shown lately—the episode devolves into the machinations of everyone around the photographer trying to keep him out of trouble. “If you’re going to take on the house of Gilbert, your career is over,” the assistant warns sternly.

Interestingly, the only clip of the episode on Hulu and YouTube today doesn’t have anything to do with the main story line: it’s a clip of Detective Munch (Richard Belzer) returning briefly to the show to give Olivia Benson’s son some advice.

Spoiler: someone in the episode ends up dead, and the rape ultimately reveals a string of others going back over a decade. Meanwhile, Richardson hasn’t commented on the episode in any way, either directly or in any kind of veiled reference on his Twitter or Instagram feeds. He’s busy raising twin daughters sons with his former assistant-turned-partner Alexandra “Skinny” Bolotow, hanging out with Jared Leto and Nikki Minaj, and continuing to get all kinds of work.


Screenshot via NBC/Hulu

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About the author

Anna Merlan

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

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