‘Law & Order: SVU”s Two-Hour Season 17 Premiere Is Based on Robert Durst

One of the most amusing aspects of Law & Order: SVU is its flaunting of its vague awareness of the zeitgeist, and its tendency to pull stories from real life phenomena into its wonderfully formulaic world. The next subject to undergo this treatment will be Robert Durst, in the show’s two-hour premiere of its 17th season. 

Durst was recently the central figure in HBO’s documentary series The Jinx, which followed the possible killer until it turned out “possible” no longer seemed a necessary qualifier: he accidentally confessed to “kill[ing] them all.” Though the character around whom the episode centers won’t share Durst’s name (in fact, Dr. Greg Yates, the character with the Durst storyline, has already appeared on the show), he is a wealthy New Yorker suspected of a number of murders that lack evidence, until a similar inadvertent confession incriminates him — as it did for Durst in the final chapter of The Jinx. 

The series is being wholly transparent about the story’s origins — as the connection to The Jinx will surely boost its viewership. A promo for the premiere episode begins with the words, “Ripped from the headlines,” and continues, “This is the one America will be talking about. Again.” Vulture also notes that this isn’t the first time the show has featured a Durst-esque storyline — though it is the first time since The Jinx and the confession therein: there have previously been two wealthy cross-dressing murderer characters on the show.

Watch the promo for the episode: