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SVU Showrunner Says Cop Shows Are ‘Miscontributing’ to Society

Photo: Courtesy of NBC

In a podcast interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the showrunner of Law & Order: SVU, Warren Leight, told hosts Dan Fienberg and Lesley Goldberg that he understands the recent pushback against the mountain of police-centric programming on TV. In response to a question about whether Leight thinks cops are portrayed “too positively” on TV, Leight answered, “Collectively? Yes.” “Individually am I miscontributing to society?” he continued. “I don’t know. Collectively, are we? Yeah.”

Leight has been outspoken on Twitter in the last week about the videos of police brutality across the country and especially in New York City, tweeting, “This is getting worse and worse every day,” calling out accounts of police kettling and beating protesters, and quote-tweeting NYC mayor Bill de Blasio with the word “Resign.” In his conversation on the podcast, Leight reflects on his hope that viewers who watch SVU understand that it is what he wishes the NYPD were; it’s not meant to be propaganda for all cops. “I think that the audience is sophisticated enough to know that this is not the day-to-day reality [in policing sexual assault],” Leight explained. “I think people wish it were more like [it is on SVU]. I think I wish it were more like this.”

Asked about the differences between his political views and those held by Dick Wolf, the progenitor of the Law & Order franchise and a powerful TV producer of other franchises, including FBI, Leight said that he tries to maintain a “begrudging appreciation of [their] differences.”

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SVU Showrunner Says Cop TV Is ‘Miscontributing’ to Society