Thoughts I Had While Watching Law & Order: SVU's 'Pizzagate' Episode

Photo: NBC Universal
Photo: NBC Universal

Now in its eighteenth season (!), Law & Order: SVU is famous for storylines that are “ripped from the headlines.” This season alone, episodes have been inspired by the Apple vs. FBI battle, Netflix’s Making a Murderer, and the Roger Ailes saga at Fox News. (An episode that seemed to be inspired by the sexual misconduct allegations about Donald Trump was supposed to air back in October, but NBC opted to shelve it indefinitely.) This week, SVU viewers were in for a treat because Benson, Rollins, and Fin decided to tackle fake news, Alex Jones, and Pizzagate.


The episode, titled “Real Fake News,” is basically about Pizzagate, but in a Chinese restaurant in New York, as opposed to a pizza restaurant in the DC area. As with many SVU episodes, the real story is spun out of a scenario that sounds familiar to the public. Pizzagate, you may recall, was the ridiculous conspiracy theory that a child sex trafficking ring was being run out of the basement of a pizza parlor in the DC area.

Rather than bore you all with a recap of the episode (you can read a good one from this Law & Order fansite), I wanted to offer some of the assorted thoughts I had while watching the episode.

Illustration for article titled Thoughts I Had While Watching Law & Order: SVU's 'Pizzagate' Episode
  • It’s interesting that Congressman Bolton (the stand-in for the Podesta figure), would go to the NYPD for help in shutting down internet rumors that he’s involved in a child sex-trafficking ring based out of the basement of a Chinese restaurant, as opposed to the FBI.
  • Olivia Benson’s incredulity that people would actually believe fake news is cute.
  • The stand-in for Comet Ping Pong is called Coral Dragon. It looks like a nice restaurant. I would totally eat at Coral Dragon.
  • What is a crazy redneck in armed with a giant rifle doing in Manhattan? He looks very out of place and I can’t believe he’d be able to just walk down the street carrying that giant gun without getting caught.
  • What a wonderful coincidence that crazy redneck armed with a giant rifle arrived at Coral Dragon at the same time that Fin and Carisi happened to be there. Good timing, boys.
  • is a website that appears to be a cross between Infowars and The Drudge Report. Fun fact, NBC Universal bought the domain name for, probably so that assholes like me couldn’t buy it and redirect it to articles they write about the show.
  • How fortunate that happens to be based in New York City.
  • Ron Duca, who runs is coming across as a slightly more-hinged Alex Jones.
  • The cops are very surprised to know that people run websites from their homes. This shocks me because the SVU is absolutely aware of bloggers.
  • Detective Carisi, and SVU in general, clearly hate free speech.
  • Having the hacker who hacked Congressman Bolton be Serbian rather than Russian is a funny change to me. Would making the hackers Russian be just too close to reality?
  • Oh. Fun. There is a real sex ring tied to this case. I see where this is headed, I think.
  • Bad move on Duca to defend himself in court against the subpoena to turn over the emails on his computer. Even real Alex Jones knows you always hire a lawyer.
  • Duca’s website gets two million uniques a day. In the real, non-SVU world, that kind of traffic would make one of the most trafficked website on the internet. Yet he somehow runs the entire site on his own, out of his apartment, with no staff. This is not how any of this works. Even Matt Drudge has a staff of people managing his giant link page.
  • Does the actor who plays Olivia’s son have his SAG card? He’s spoken a few words now.
  • This real pervert the Serbian hacker tipped the cops off to is gross.
  • Again, what are the odds this guy lives in New York City. How does everyone in this story live in New York City?
  • How happy is Uber that the “driver” delivering young women to terrible human beings isn’t an Uber driver?
  • How much of a missed opportunity was it for SVU to not add in an Uber critique into this episode too.
  • Sex trafficking makes me sad.
  • “Let’s look at Street View”—I love it when Olivia plugs The Google in order to help a terrified young woman locate the house/neighborhood where she’s been kept captive.
  • This story that started about “fake news” claims of a child sex ring in a basement of a restaurant ends up with a real trafficking ring in a basement in Queens. I’m not sure how I feel about Carisi’s takeaway that fake news led to a real trafficking case. Does that mean he’s OK with fake news now?
  • This ending is ridiculous and I could not stop laughing.
  • Why were cops not posted outside of this restaurant? Just a few days ago, a crazed redneck with a giant rifle was at this restaurant.
  • Also, why does a Congressman that has had major death threats against him not have Secret Service protection?
  • This episode is truly amazing.

Christina is a senior writer at Gizmodo.



I actually think that NBC buys all the domains for all the crazy L&O websites from the show. I have no idea how true this is it’s the first link I could find.