“LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT” TARGETS CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN SEASON FINALE
Catalyst June Issue 2002
The NBC show, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” targeted Catholic priests in its season finale on May 17. The episode, “Silence,” featured a senior priest involved in pedophilia and a subsequent diocesan coverup.
Two days before it aired, we issued a news release that raised serious questions about the decision to run the show.
We took note of the fact that the episode in question was originally scheduled to run in September. Recent events in the Catholic Church, however, coupled with the frenzy over the May sweeps, pushed NBC to switch plans. Word had, too, that this show delights in ‘ripping from today’s headlines,’ hence the decision to go with the pedophile priest-church coverup episode. “This interpretation,” we said, “plausible on the face of it, is widely held among Hollywood observers. It is also wrong.”
We pointed to a recent story in the Washington Post detailing how out-of-control gays in San Francisco have become. Here’s what was reported: “More gay men are engaging in risky sex. Cases of venereal disease and HIV infection are soaring. And pleas for caution are being ignored.” Also, New York Magazine recently reported on the explosion of sex clubs in gay neighborhoods, as well as the “epidemic” use of the deadly drug, crystal-meth, among gays.
We couldn’t resist asking, “Now wouldn’t these recent events-’ripped from today’s headlines’-make for a great episode of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?’”
The executive producer of the show, Dick Wolf, caught our attention as well. “He is not an insensitive man,” we noted. “Indeed, he once made a movie, ‘School Ties,’ that took direct aim at anti-Semitism.” Moreover, he has said he would never do a show on teenage suicide or one that exploited the events of 9-11. We added, “Nor will he ever do one on gay bathhouses and AIDS. But when it comes to Catholic priests, Wolf’s sensitivity ends.”
Phonies do not sit well with us at the Catholic League. Which explains our fondness for Hollywood.