Revisiting Law & Order: SVU's The Bachelor-esque Episode, "Assaulting Reality"

A fictional episode of NBC's long-running drama has certain parallels to the current situation on the ABC reality series

By Chris Harnick Jun 14, 2017 8:28 PMTags

The future of a reality show (Bachelor in Paradise) remains in question after an alleged incident between contestants and a producer's actions shut production down and the cast scattering in the wind. Sound familiar? It should to Law & Order: SVU fans.

NBC's long-running police drama took on reality TV and sexual assault in "Assaulting Reality," a season 17 episode. The episode starred Mariska Hargitay, Kelli Giddish, Ice T, Peter Scanavino and Raúl Esparza, with guest stars The Secret World of Alex Mack's Larisa Oleynik, Hot in Cleveland's Wendie Malick and Family Ties veteran Michael Gross.

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In "Assaulting Reality," the detectives watched a fake reality show, Heart's Desire, when a contestant is shown video of herself in the "Dream Suite" with the suitor on the series. But Melanie (Comfort Clinton) doesn't remember the acts depicted on screen. "Did Ryan rape me?" she asked. Doink Doink.

Oleynik played Lizzie, a frazzled producer on the show with Gross and Malick as executive producers.

The detectives investigated the events—eventually becoming part of the storyline—and in typical SVU fashion there were several twists. First, the suitor never had sex with the contestant. Instead, it was another houseguest and the producers had just found the footage. Lizzie was fired, but agreed to testify against the executive producers who were pulling the strings.

In real life, Corinne Olympios, a cast member on Bachelor in Paradise and a former Bachelor contestant, is now speaking out about the events of June 4 that caused Warner Bros. and ABC to shut production down.

"I am a victim and have spent the last week trying to make sense of what happened on June 4.  Although I have little memory of that night, something bad obviously took place, which I understand is why production on the show has now been suspended and a producer on the show has filed a complaint against the production," she said in a statement.

"As a woman, this is my worst nightmare and it has now become my reality. As I pursue the details and facts surrounding that night and the immediate days after, I have retained a group of professionals to ensure that what happened on June 4 comes to light and I can continue my life, including hiring an attorney to obtain justice and seeking therapy to begin dealing with the physical and emotional trauma stemming from that evening," she continued.

Law & Order: SVU's "Assaulting Reality" is available to watch on Hulu and Netflix.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)