Law & Order: Special Victims Unit often draws their plotlines from real-life stories, including the Casey Anthony trials, the Slender Man case and even the Michael Jackson trials. The latest episode, which aired on Thursday (Oct. 10), was inspired by Empire‘s Jussie Smollett.
In January, the actor was in Chicago when he claimed he was attacked by two men in a racially-charged hate crime. Soon after, it was suspected that Smollett staged the attack and filed a false police report.
The Law & Order: SVU episode follows actor L. Steven Taylor as Mathis Banks, a singer who claimed to be a victim of a man targeting gay bar attendees in New York City. Captain Olivia Benson, Fin and Rollins’ investigation eventually harbors suspicions of Mathis’ claims. They eventually learned from the singer’s manager that TMZ was going to report that Mathis is gay and deduct that, as a plot to get ahead of the story, he thought being attacked would garner sympathy before he came out.
Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.